Kapa haka group Te Maurea Whiritoi is going viral for an incredible whakawātea devoted to one of their fallen loved ones.
The group posted the moment, part of their larger performance at Ngaa Paki o Matariki Festival, to their TikTok account, where it has received almost 400k views, 67k likes and hundreds of comments celebrating it.
In a YouTube video of the full performance, they describe the meaning behind the emotion.
“This whakawātea serves as a homage to Keaton Reti, our dearly departed brother who tragically left us earlier this year,” it reads.
“He was a remarkable individual, filled with determination, perseverance, and courage, who served as an inspiration to his friends. Through this tribute, we grieve his loss while embodying his uplifting characteristics, contemplating our own fleeting existence in this world.”
Commenters on both the YouTube and TikTok videos are expressing the power and emotion they felt when watching.
“Māori culture is so beautiful that the sadness can be hidden but still can be seen at the same time,” wrote one person.
“Absolutely ātaahua!” another said. “When you get those tingles all over, almost like goosebumps, it's the wairua felt through your waiata and haka. It makes us feel so proud to be Māori and the connection felt is magical”.
“They are so good,” a third added. “Strong, beautiful lyrics and kaupapa nui. Love this group.”
“These rangatahi are so talented,” one more wrote. “Honestly Te Matatini level. Watched this many times and every time I’m blown away.”
Unsurprisingly, for this performance, the team placed first at the festival. Such huge mana from the group and an awesome tribute to their fallen brother.