Putting rangatahi issues on the kapa haka stage

“The rangatahi taking part in high school kapa haka competitions are aware of what’s going on with this government and want to see the world change.”

At Te Matatini 2023, Te Ngaware Wright, 25, became the youngest person to win the best manukura wahine (female leader) title. 

Te Ngawari has been the manukura wahine of Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue for nearly four years. With over a decade of experience, she was guided by her mentor Tenga Rangitauira to take up the position and uses her unique style to help bring the group’s performance to life. 

Politics has always been an essential part of kapa haka and Te Ngawari wants rangatahi to feel confident to express their views on the stage but also beyond it. 

“Don’t be afraid to share what you think no matter what!” 

This is part one of a series where Ohinga highlight young Māori leaders. Ohinga is our weekly te reo Māori series, created by @mahitahiagency with funding from @te_mangai_paho. Stay tuned for a new episode every week.

More stories:

Why the world's biggest kapa haka competition needs more funding
Despite being unique to Aotearoa, kapa haka receives way less funding than other performing arts. 

'Kapa haka is a celebration of life': 50 years of Te Matatini

Te Matatini is the biggest celebration of Māori culture in the world
Alien Weaponry: The world is embracing Māori, why can’t Aotearoa?
We sat down with the band after they opened for Guns N’ Roses in Wellington.