Busy time for best in the business
6 March, 2013
Busy time for best in the business
As if Tiare Kata Teinakore wasn’t busy enough raising two young children and completing her masters thesis on Te Kauwhanganui O Tawhiao, the first Māori parliament.
Both roles require an almost fulltime commitment but the 27-year-old University of Waikato student also found time to train with her kapa haka group Te Iti Kahurangi and compete in last month’s national kapa haka champs Te Matatini in Rotorua.
Teinakore successfully juggled family, kapa haka and study, handing in her thesis the week before Te Matatini
Her and her group’s commitment was rewarded when Te Iti Kahurangi finished third equal and brought home a swag of trophies from the competition, including an elaborate korowai presented to Teinakore for being judged the best female leader of the 41 teams that took part.
Teinakore is well aware of the significance of the win.
“It’s been 30 years since this korowai has been in the Waikato,” she says.
“The last time was when Tomairangi Paki, the Queen’s daughter, won it.”
The victory places Teinakore alongside some of the most highly regarded names in the kapa haka world.
“It was one of the most humbling things in my life,” she says. “To be even considered in that group of strong women is a privilege, I feel very blessed.”
Blessed she may be, but Teinakore has worked hard for what she’s achieved. And like all good leaders, she acknowledges those who have helped, both in preparing for Te Matatini and in giving her the time to complete her thesis.
“Late nights, baby sitters, partners, family support. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family.”
Her master’s supervisor, Jackie Tuaupiki, says Teinakore is a person “with a strong commitment towards her endeavours, whether her studies, kapa haka or her family”.
“She is a well-rounded and very committed person.”
Teinakore says being good leader is about doing what’s best for the team.
“Every time I perform, my goal is to be there for the team, to call as loud as I can, to be as clear as I can so the team can hear me. You have to be there for your team and the team needs to know you are there for them.”
Her commitment is impressive. Te Iti Kahurangi qualified for Te Matatini at the Tainui regional competition in Te Kūiti last year. Since August the group trained every fortnight until December.
“Then we had two weeks off over Christmas and New Year, then every weekend since then.”
“Our preparation was good.”
That’s something of an understatement, given the results.
It was Te Iti Kahurangi’s fifth time at Te Matatini and this year was the first time they’d made it to the finals. That in itself is a major achievement for a group which is less than 10 years old, Teinakore says.
“It was just amazing to make the top nine with all these groups who have been around for 40 or 50 years and we get an opportunity to stand by them.”
Faith, she says, also played a role.
“We have faith in Atua and in our tūpuna. A central part of our journey is because of these people. It is through them that we can achieve what we do. They give us that extra push.”
When Teinakore, her two sisters and two friends set up Te Iti Kahurangi in 2004, competition was the last thing on their minds.
“The reason why this group was set up was not for competition. It was just five people who really loved to sing and to haka and to compose and that remains the same as it has always been,” she says.
Except now Te Iti Kahurangi have announced their arrival on the national stage and the pressure goes on to repeat their success at the next Te Matatini, in Christchurch in 2015.
And Teinakore isn’t done with studying yet either.
“A PhD is definitely on the horizon,” she says. “But first I want to relax a bit.”
She’s certainly earned that.
Te Iti Kahurangi finished third equal with Tū Te Manawa Maurea and Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti at Te Matatini, with Te Waka Huia taking the overall title and Te Whānau Apanui in second.
Other results for Te Iti Kahurangi:
1st Te Reo (Māori language quality)
1st – Whakaeke (entry)
1st – Mōteatea (traditional chant)
1st – WaiataaRinga (action song)
1st – Te Manukura Wahine (female leader)
2nd – WaiataaTira (choral item)
3rd – Te Manukura Tāne (male leader)
The University of Waikato is a strategic partner of Te Matatini.