TV chal­lenge is ‘full on’

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By KA­RINA ABA­DIA

BEST friends Ed­mund Eramiha and Kani Col­lier rub shoul­ders with Once Were War­riors star Te­muera Mor­ri­son in a new re­al­ity tele­vi­sion show de­signed to pro­mote kapa haka.

Both work as group fit­ness train­ers and ap­pear on The Kapa, a 12-week pro­gramme that pre­miered on Fe­bru­ary 13 and fea­tures on Maori Tele­vi­sion ev­ery Thurs­day at 7.30pm.

Con­tes­tants work to­gether in groups of eight to chore­o­graph kapa haka per­for­mances and some­one is elim­i­nated af­ter each chal­lenge un­til just eight re­main. They have been men­tored by some of the coun­try’s top kapa haka per­form­ers, in­clud­ing Te­muera Mor­ri­son.

‘‘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,’’ Mr Col­lier 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.’’

Film­ing was tough, both phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally, the CBD res­i­dent 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 friends have lots 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 a haka show for tourists.

Both have com­pleted the 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 best

of trea­sures our an­ces­tors left for us to carry on and show­case.’’

Mr Col­lier says he is also car­ry­ing on a fam­ily tra­di­tion.

His par­ents com­peted for ti­tles in well-known kapa haka groups dur­ing his child­hood and he and his mother still per­form to­gether.

‘‘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.’’

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