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Te Taha Tu – Sustaining the Māori Spirit (In Māori)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Māori and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese),Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

My name is Maurits Kelderman. I am one of the leaders of Te Taha Tu, which is a Māori cultural performing group.

My name is Kimi James Titan.

Greetings, refined viewers, and welcome to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. Today, through interviews with members of Te Taha Tu performing group of New Zealand, we’ll have a glimpse into the philosophy of the indigenous Māori culture and how it has positively influenced the lives of young people in modern society.

Māori performing arts has undergone quite a significant growth in New Zealand, probably over the last, I'll say 20 years. It's a great vehicle for expression for our young people. It's not just the sports fields that they get noticed on now. It is in the realm of their own people, in the realm of their own culture. So there's a great outlet there for kapa haka, and it's highly respected amongst the community.

The term kapa refers to group, and haka is the form of expression, and so it's really a cultural group. I became involved as a young teenager, about 13 years old. I grew up in a community that had a lot of Māori people. So a lot of my friends were Māori. They were also immersed in their culture and were quite strong in the expression of the culture.

At some stage they said, “We're joining a culture group. Would you like to come along?” And I said, “Yes, great.” And I enjoyed it, really. So that's what kept me involved. It was the joy of performance, belief in what you are doing. We've been around for about one and a half years now.

The name of our kapa haka is Te Taha Tu. It comes from an old haka pōhiri, or a welcome haka. It goes: “Na taku potiki, koe tiki atu ite taha tu ko te rangi kukumea mai haere mai, haere mai,” which basically translates as: “That was my youngest born that fetched you from the horizons of the heavens.” And then, “Welcome. Welcome.”

It is on this month we have all come The call of Hineamaru has brought us all here One, two, swing your poi My bird of welcome fly to the tail of the fish to the tides above to the tides below to all peoples of these islands You all come to the welcoming call of my bird This is Te Taha Tu We greet you To all peoples from the North Island to the South Island bind together, uplift as one We are inspired by all the things that our ancestors lived by. Things like their connection with nature, their connection to Papatūānuku, Mother Earth, and Ranginui, the Sky Father. They are living beings to us.

If we look to the east, the sun rises. To look to the west, the sun sets. Basically, everything within that realm of sunrise and sunset, and all the beautiful things between that time is for us to feast on. It's a wonderful thing, just to live, just to breathe. And to know there's another day coming the next day. There’s another whakataukī, another proverb:

“Look upon the distant horizon. And seek it until it is close to you. Once it is close to you, grasp it. And hold on to it tight.” Basically it doesn’t matter how long it takes you, the thing is that you aspire to attain it.

And we want to take this world view and share it with everybody. One of the main goals of this group is to empower people, to slowly unveil what we call the kura huna. The old meanings for kura is the plumage, or the treasures. Huna means to be hidden. And so the hidden treasures within every single human beings, regardless of where you’re from, regardless of what age need to be unveiled or discovered.

Ascend in vigor Ascend in vigor Ascend the walls of Rangi tumu gather We stand in tribute to your esteemed chiefly woman Descended from Rahiri from Uenuku who begat Hauhaua Beginning at Waimamaku to Whakatere Moving to Papatahora On top of Motatau calls to Waiomio This is the seat of your tradition On this day Te Taha Tu pays tribute to you Ngāti Hine of a hundred hills So the pieces of Hineamaru will not stand empty.

What I enjoy about kapa haka the most is the chance to express myself through different areas such as the haka and singing lovely melodies with a whole bunch of people or whānau such as my family, and most of all, a chance to show the world what our people are all about.

Te Taha Tu is also an expression of spirituality. When I think taha wairua, I think things spiritual in terms of the Māori world view. It’s about my connection to the environment, my connection to my ancestors, my connection to my family that are living. It goes through every aspect of our lives. If a haka can’t move you spiritually, then you haven’t done it right.

“Ha” is the breath, so your breath, your inner breath must touch people. “Ka,” to light them up, you must light them up. It’s your whole spiritual inner being that lights up something else within someone else. And if we move people in terms of the haka or the song, then we’ve achieved our goal. In terms of our spiritualness, it’s not about the religion; it’s more about your links to that spiritual world, your links to the trees, to the moana, to the waters, to the land, to our ancestors, but also to the living as well. Even your friends, my best friend, my wife, that are here in this realm.

Dip lightly, dip lightly, dip lightly! Now a long stroke, a long stroke, a long stroke! Plunge deeply your paddles The paddles Manini-tua and Manini-aro Tangi-wiwini and Tangi-wawana. See, dawn is breaking yonder On the peak of Matatera. Now, Whaiuru, Whaiuru, Whaiuru Now, Whaiato, Whaiato, Whaiato Now a long strong stroke! Now a long strong stroke!

The things that I like about kapa haka is that it uplifts the mind, body and soul. I enjoy kapa haka because it allows me to express myself, and it allows me to be myself as an individual as a Māori woman in this world. It makes me feel very proud about myself and where I come from, and it just gives us the opportunity to learn more about ourselves as a culture and as Māori.

One of the things that I enjoy about our particular group is that people are happy. People are happy being there, they want to be there, and they want to learn. Basically, we are representatives here, we do things as a collective. And it’s because of the efforts of the collective that things are achieved and done well. And so with that in mind it always keeps us in check in terms of staying humble.

The thing I like about being in the kapa haka is the whanaungatanga, the family engagement, the family positivity and a lot of aroha, a lot of love shared within the family, especially in this Te Taha Tu group that’s all about family, participation, family engagement and positivity, and a good place and good role modeling for a lot of people. It's also positive Māori influences. That's what we're about. Kia ora.

The bloodline springs from Taumarere Koperu spoke to her Let us be together, let’s procreate and have many offspring Till the land using your hoe so that kumara may grow So that your people may eat The many, the thousands On this day Te Taha Tu pays tribute to you Ngāti Hine of a hundred hills So the pieces of Hineamaru will not stand empty Ascend in vigor Ascend in vigor Ascend the walls of Rangi tumu gather.

During a gathering with our Association members in Auckland, New Zealand on April 27, 2000, Supreme Master Ching Hai commented about the spirituality of the Māori people and how it is reflected in their arts.

The ancestor of the Māori people have sung so beautiful songs, so spiritually developed, so highly elevated, so souly songs. The Māori ancestors have known God, they have known spiritual levels that exceed our language, that go beyond our ordinary understanding, therefore, they could express themselves in poetry, in music, in songs, which are so beautiful, so out of the ordinary, and so touching to the soul when you hear it. It is because they express their own inner level of enlightenment.

We sincerely thank Mr. Maurits Kelderman and Mr. James Titan for sharing with us the priceless wisdom of the Māori people, and members of the Te Taha Tu cultural performing group for your fabulous performances. May the profound beauty of the Māori heritage continue to be preserved and renewed, enhancing our world with spirituality and grace. Heaven bless the pure-hearted Māori people!

For more information about Te Taha Tu, please contact Maurits Kelderman at Maurits@DesignTribe.co.nz or (64) 21 579 347.

Elegant viewers, thank you for joining us today on A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. Please stay tuned for Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, after Noteworthy News. May your soul be uplifted by infinite celestial light.
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