Te Kūmara Vine
Kia whai kororia honore hareruia kia Ihoa o ngā Mano, tuauriuri whaioio kii tonu te rangi me te whenua i te nui o tou kororia, Matua, Tama, Wairua Tapu me ngā Anahera Pono ko te Mangai hei tautoko mai aianei akenei ae.
Ko Puhikereru me Titohea ngā maunga.
Ko Raukawakawa me Whangaehu ngā awa.
Ko Kurahaupo me Manuao ngā waka.
Ko Omaka me Ratana ngā marae.
Ko Tarakaipa te Hapū.
Ko Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō me Te Iwi Morehu ngā Iwi.
He uri tēnei o Eruera raua ko Te Oranga Hemi.
On the 17th of July 2016, I was fortunate enough to have been one of 50 students selected to be a part of the Raukura (Rotorua Boys and Girls High School) combined kapahaka team to travel to Portugal and Madrid for the Folk Cantanhede festival as New Zealand ambassadors.
We endured a long-haul flight of up to 30 hours, travelling to Hong Kong and Madrid, then another 9 hour bullet train to Portugal where we stayed at a local university along with others from South Africa, Austria, Bolivia, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Throughout the 17 days that we were in Portugal we had at least 5 shows a day as early as 9am to as late as 11.30pm. They call it the city that never sleeps, nor did we.
We would travel all around Portugal performing in many villages.
The highlight of the trip was staying alongside the other countries as we were able to learn new things about their cultures but most importantly sharing and showcasing our Māori culture to the world.
Six days after returning from Portugal we headed to Hastings to the Te Haaro o te Kahu secondary schools Kapahaka Nationals where our kapa placed first, being the secondary kapahaka champions for 2016, an experience that I am humbled to be a part of.
From these few experiences opened many more opportunities for myself. In November 2016, I was fortunate to have then been selected to travel alongside 10 others to China, as New Zealand ambassadors for ‘NZ trade and enterprise’. Flying all around China performing at events hosted by New Zealand trade to promote Aotearoa including the inaugural New Zealand ball held at the five-star Shangri-La in Shanghai.
Lastly, I was also selected to fly with 9 others to Tonga alongside the NZ embassy to perform on the Costa Rico cruise ship as it journeyed back to New Zealand.
From all this I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience under the guidance of many experts including aunties, cousins, my Nan and Te Arawa Legends. These teachings I am willing to share with the next generation of our Iwi Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō.
I believe my attendance to the above opportunities was not only beneficial to myself but to Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō. I was not only an ambassador for Aotearoa but proudly representing my Iwi, culture and family as I travelled and showcased our culture to the world.
It was a privilege to take my people with me during my travels, including those alongside Te Reanga Morehu o Ratana at Regionals and Te Matatini.
I am humbled and privileged to have had all these experiences. Most of which would not have been possible without the support of Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō but most importantly the cultural strategic plan.
For this I am eternally grateful
No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
-- Caitlin Hemi