Te Matatini wrapped up on Saturday with Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau-a-Apanui being crowned champions for 2023.
Their viral waita-ā-ringa was a rendition of a song from all the way back in 1961, ‘Runaround Sue’ which Megan Trainor sampled for her track ‘Dear Future Husband’.
They dedicated the action song to the late lawyer and Māori advocate Moana Jackson, who they called a “treasure”.
Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau-a-Apanui won on aggregate, beating out Whangara mai Tawhiti and Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue who came second equal.
Head judge Paraone Gloyne said that Apanui’s unique identity is what set them apart from the rest of the competition.
“Apanui have what we call a wairua Māori, a Māoriness about them in their performance, and they’ve got a style,” she said, as reported by Stuff.
“That is one thing a lot of groups grapple with, establishing a style or identity, because you're looking at things that are going to define you and going to give you a point of difference.”
Manukura tāne, Tamati Waaka, said that the rōpū’s performance was actually delayed due to rain, but they remained confident despite thinking they may have gone over time.
“We were timing to perform at 5 in terms of food, nutrition, energy, water, all those things,” he told RNZ. "And when we got here we were ready and it ended up being an hour and a half later, so we had to stay up for that long of a time then go home and sleep and back into it again."
"Afterwards they said yeah we're gonna win, but because I talked for too long they go, 'we better not go over time because of you',” he continued.
The next Te Matatini festival will take place in 2025, hosted by Taranaki.