Friends face tough kapa haka chal­lenge

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KARINA ABADIA

Best friends Ed­mund Eramiha and Kani Col­lier love a chal­lenge but tak­ing part in a Maori Tele­vi­sion se­ries tested that drive to the limit.

The group fit­ness train­ers took part in The Kapa, a 12-week re­al­ity tele­vi­sion pro­gramme which pre­miered on Fe­bru­ary 13.

On the show con­tes­tants work to­gether in groups of eight to chore­o­graph kapa haka per­for­mances. Af­ter each chal­lenge one per­son is elim­i­nated un­til only eight re­main.

It was very tough both phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally, Mr Col­lier says.

‘‘The challenges were given to us the day be­fore. We would pre­pare un­til about 3am and have to wake up at 6am to per­form.

‘‘Our men­tors told us they would have strug­gled if they were put un­der the same pres­sure. It was re­ally full on but worth it.’’

Luck­ily the two best friends had a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence to draw on.

They both per­formed in kapa haka groups while at high school and also spent sev­eral years work­ing in Queen­stown as part of the tourist show Kiwi Haka.

More re­cently they also both com­pleted a Bach­e­lor of Maori Per­form­ing Arts at Unitec.

‘‘We love the rush of per­form­ing,’’ Mr Eramiha of Mt Eden says.

‘‘What bet­ter way to show­case your own cul­ture. We also learn about our iden­tity, who we are and what trea­sures our an­ces­tors left for us to carry on and show­case.’’

For Mr Col­lier it is also about car­ry­ing on a fam­ily tra­di­tion.

While he was grow­ing up his par­ents com­peted for ti­tles in well­known kapa haka groups and he and his mother still per­form to­gether.

One of the best parts of The Kapa ex­pe­ri­ence for them both was be­ing men­tored by some of the coun­try’s top kapa haka per­form­ers.

Te­muera Mor­ri­son was a real char­ac­ter, Mr Col­lier says.

‘‘He came in on day five and by then ev­ery­one was ex­hausted. It was one of my big­gest high­lights hav­ing him there be­cause he light­ened the mood, made ev­ery­one laugh and shared sto­ries and ex­pe­ri­ences,’’ the CBD res­i­dent says.

‘‘When I was a child he per­formed as the leader of the kapa haka group Ngati Rangi­wewehi.

‘‘He was awe­some and he still is to­day. He still holds all that knowl­edge. I was very hon­oured to be there and lis­ten to him speak.’’

‘‘Tak­ing part in the tele­vi­sion se­ries was an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ Mr Eramiha says.

‘‘I loved it be­cause when our Maori youth see this they are go­ing to say ‘I want to be like those guys’. It’s about en­cour­ag­ing and in­spir­ing oth­ers.’’

Photo: KARINA ABADIA

Top tal­ent: Kani Col­lier and Ed­mund Eramiha are con­tes­tants on the Maori TV re­al­ity show The Kapa.

Mo­ti­va­tional tool: Kani Col­lier and Ed­mund Eramiha hope to in­spire other Maori to get into kapa haka.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bournews. co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video of Te­muera Mor­ri­son per­form­ing as part of the kapa haka group Ngati Rangi­wewehi.

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