The countdown is on for the biggest event in Tūhoe. Preparations are underway for the biennial Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe this Easter weekend.
The three-day festival will draw thousands of people from all areas of the country and abroad.
Tūhoe descendants will have the chance to celebrate their unique identity, with the overarching theme being matemateaone.
Chairman of the organising committee, Paora Keepa says, ‘Many of our Tūhoe whānau make the trip home to celebrate Tūhoe culture, to reconnect with friends and whānau. An event not to be missed!’
This year's proceedings will follow those of past years. There will be kapa haka performances, sports competitions, debates and live entertainment.
So far, 14 kapa haka have registered and are now in preparation mode.
Last year it was announced that a new haka will be replacing the famous 'Te Pūru'. Te Pūru was the platform of a unique Tūhoe style on the kapa haka stage, but the iwi believed it was time for a new vision that will cater to today's Tūhoe generation.
Haturini McGarvey composed the new haka. He told Te Kāea the haka will "continue to retain the unique style of Tuhoe and it's native language. The haka will also reflect on stories handed down by our elders and stories that have risen in recent years."
"The idea of composing the haka reflects on those who have passed on, the generation in the present and those in the future," McGarvey adds.
Information with regards to entry costs and details of the full programme will be issued in due course.
Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe will take place on 25-27 March in Ruatoki.