February was spent preparing to host top Waikato-Tainui rōpū, Mōtai Tangata Rau of Ngāti Raukawa.

Many thanks to Elizabeth Cunningham, Linda Grennell, Manaia Cunningham and Doug Timothy, for all their mahi in the lead-up to the arrival of our manuhiri.

On Monday 2 March, our kokoru came alive to the sound of waiata, haka and te reo as over 70 members of the rōpū and their kaitautoko and kaumātua arrived for Te Matatini. This was the first stand for Mōtai Tangata Rau at Te Matatini, who unfortunately missed out on a “top 9” by just one point. However, they did place 10th overall, winning the “Mobil Oil Te Reo Excellence” trophy and placing second in the whakaeke, haka and whakawātea.

Our thanks to those who were available to welcome the rōpū especially those who came home to awhi the kaupapa and the marae for the week. Much love goes to those who stayed back from Pūtaringamotu and kept the home-fires burning and our whare warm for our manuhiri.

E kore e mutu ngā mihi ki a koutou ngā ringa raupā, ki a koe Henare Manawatu me tō kāhui ihu oneone, he kaha nō te raupī mai e horokukū ana ā tātou manuhiri te hoki ki te kāinga. Our sincere thanks to Henare Manawatu and his catering team from Arowhenua and Kaikōura who provided the catering for the week.

A special thanks to Aunties Linda, Elizabeth, Airini and Marina for their manaaki; Manaia and Uncle Riki who helped with rōpū liaison; Dave, Peter, Doug and all those who came and supported on the paepae and in the kitchen during the week.

Congratulations to the Waitaha Cultural Council (WCC) in particular Puamiria Parata-Goodall, Rangimarie Takurua and Kim Wetini, and the WCC partners, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Christchurch City Council on hosting a very successful event.

The atmosphere was reminiscent of our old Hui-ā-Tau but with really awesome haka groups. Well done to all our whānau who were part of the volunteer army who provided manaaki over the week and contributed to making it such a memorable event.

Waikato-Tainui rōpū, Mōtai Tangata Rau.

Waikato-Tainui rōpū, Mōtai Tangata Rau.