Rotorua kapa haka group perform with SIX60 ahead of All Blacks game

The Te Puia | NZMACI kapa haka group performing in Japan recently.

Rotorua kapa haka performers have shared the stage with top Kiwi band SIX60 as part of a New Zealand showcase in the lead up to the next All Blacks Rugby World Cup game against Canada in Beppu, Japan.

Watch the collaboration here.

SIX60 and the Te Puia | NZMACI kapa haka group delighted the crowd with a collaboration on the te reo Māori version of the hit song “Roots”, which SIX60 created for the “Anthem” album for Māori language week.

The two groups performed in Beppu today to an enthusiastic audience of local and international fans.

The kapa haka group, including students from Rotorua Boys’ High School, have been performing, educating and serving as ambassadors during the RWC in support of the New Zealand says 39 campaign.

Kiri Atkinson-Crean from Te Puia | NZMACI said the group had a great reaction from audiences in Tokyo, and the pairing with SIX60 in Beppu brought a whole different layer and energy to the performance.

“It showcased the beauty of te reo Māori, the power and grace of kapa haka and the energy and creativity of Kiwi musicians.”

Atkinson-Crean said the fact that Beppu and Rotorua shared a sister city relationship, and were both geothermal spa towns, made the performance even more special for the kapa haka performers.

“It was a genuine and compelling marriage of the traditional and modern, showcasing the best of Aotearoa while the world’s eyes are on Beppu.”

As well as the Te Puia | NZMACI kapa haka group, many of whom have represented Rotorua and New Zealand in Japan already this year, traditional Māori carving was also on display in Beppu.

NZMACI master carver James Rickard has been working on taiaha and tewhatewha to display Māori artistry and techniques as another element of the cultural exchange with Japan.

An ornate kūwaha – Te Haeata Whero – representing a two-way doorway between Aotearoa and Japanese culture, along with a Mauri stone from Mt Tongariro offered by Ngati Hikairo, have already been unveiled in Tokyo.

Te Haeata Whero was carved by Rickard and two other carvers from NZMACI, Lenny Boonen and Kawana Waititi, and it has been a prominent feature of the New Zealand says 39 campaign, which aimed to foster knowledge and goodwill between the two nations.

Atkinson-Crean said the reception to the Te Puia | NZMACI representatives had been phenomenal.

“Japanese people have responded and received Māori culture and traditions in the most beautiful way – it has been a heartfelt connection.

“And we, as manuhiri, have learned so much about Japan culture and people – and of omotenashi – the Japanese tradition of caring for manuhiri, which pretty much mirrors our Māori concept of manaakitanga.”

You can read the full Herald article here.