Moeau Stewart & Olinka Matete

Kapa Haka - Te Matatini 2019

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Maori and Pacific Development
  • Māori Language/Te Reo Māori

Moeau and Olinka were high school sweethearts and Kapa Haka rivals. Now the couple are studying together at the University of Waikato, and competing together at Te Matatini.

They’re both 21 years old, and now performing with Tū Te Manawa Maurea. They’re helping each other to train before sharing their first Te Matatini together. Moeau (Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe) says when they got together they were in their early teens at different high schools and in different Kapa Haka groups. They had a rivalry on stage. But only on stage. Seven years later they are preparing for Te Matatini ki te Ao together. They both had their first performance together with Tū Te Manawa Maurea back in 2012 and since then have always been a part of the Tū te Manawa Maurea whānau.

They both come from Kapa Haka families. Moeau says his parents tell him that when he was very young, every time they put the TV on, if there was Haka he would sit there and watch it all day.

Poi is Olinka’s thing, but she’s left handed and that’s an issue. She then taught herself how to use her right hand and eventually became familiar and connected with mahi poi.

When they’ve finished their degrees the couple want to go back home and give back to their community.  Olinka says they are both in the process of creating a special holiday programme for the tamariki of the Manutūke hāpori. “So they can keep learning their whakapapa, their pepeha. It would be a marae-based programme where you can learn the history of where you are from and participating in activities such as gathering food from our own land resources and practising our māori customs on our marae.”

Who is your Kapa Haka idol?

Moeau: Uncle Derek (Lardelli) and Johnny Moetara.
Olinka: Piata Waitai.

What is your favourite item of the bracket?

Moeau: Haka.
Olinka: Mōteatea

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new student coming to UoW who does Kapa Haka?

Moeau: Time management, that’s a big thing. And planning.
Olinka: Home for us is Gisborne. So when we’re studying at Waikato we have to travel five hours each way every weekend to go back for wānanga.
Moeau: You have to make sure you’ve done what you have to for uni during that week, otherwise you will get behind. We try to be home by 7pm on a Friday, when we usually start practice. Sometimes we only do a few hours, but at the moment, in the run up to Matatini, we’re going until about 1am. Then Saturday 7am to 1am, then up again on Sunday doing endless top drops until we have to leave.
Olinka: I’d agree, make sure all your mahi is done at uni before heading into another headspace at practice. At first, we thought it would be ok to bring mahi to practice, but when you’re there you don’t have time to sit and do it, so when you’re back at uni you end up falling behind. We have really learnt from that.

How do you keep Haka-fit?

Olinka: It’s not about going to the gym, it’s more disciplining yourself. We do exercises such as toroparawae and pakiaka to name a few. These two particularly are all about how to use your feet, and being light on the balls of your feet, but at the same time it is helping with your fitness. It also helps with choreography in the bracket. With our meals and kai throughout our wānanga we have set menus where certain kinds of kai are made for different diet plans that team members may be doing.
Moeau: We’re fizzy-free at the moment. Some people in our team do the keto-diet. We try to cater for everyone.
Olinka: During our stays at the marae for our wānanga, our roopu practice is Parakore. We try to eliminate things like plastic bottles, and we do a lot of recycling. When we prep our meals we don’t use plastic wrap, we make our own beeswax wrap. In a way that’s Haka-fit too.

Competing: Friday 22 February - 12th

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