Matariki Star Search 2017 Finale


A night of proud whanau, teary eyes and stars!

Backstage nerves and excitement gave way to a night of uplifting performances from the moment the curtain first opened. MC, Tamati Coffey was quick to discover how many proud whanau and friends were in the crowd as he called out the names of each contestant.

Reporoa band, In the Pocket, got the crowd warmed up with two spectacular opening acts. This band and each of its members have a bright future in the New Zealand music scene and we look forward to seeing more of them.

The phenomenal calibre of talent on show was quickly realised as soon as Hēmi Curtis took the stage, surprising many with his huge voice. Te Waikura Witoko who attends Te Muru at Western Heights High School had many in tears with his performance of Hallelujah and his dream of becoming a music teacher for youth with special needs.

The newly introduced Dance category was a highlight for many and contestants Emmaleah, Jade, Madelyn and Poppy were inspirational to younger members of the audience who now plan to take up or further their own dancing following the show. Jade's supporters really got into the spirit of the night with custom made "Team Jade" stickers and signs.

Entries in the Ngā mahi a Rēhia o te Ao category were all big crowd pleasers. The harmonies and ukulele of Ahipukahu Edmonds, Te Ahu Paenga and Ngārangimihi Panapa warmed everyone's hearts even before finishing with an amazing long poi display.

A grand piano with a history that includes the Sydney Opera house appropriately accompanied the final contestant of the night, Rueao Te Moni. Having given back the microphone, Rueao delivered a powerful, unique and truly magnificent performance of the aria, Tarakihi.

Guest performer, Arys Ruhi's beautiful voice singing "You're the one" during People's choice voting was very apt.

Trophies and $1000 Noel Leeming vouchers were presented to the Winners in each of the three categories and runner-up received $500 vouchers. Seeing Paretoroa Webster-Tarei's reaction as he realised how much he had won was a special moment and well deserved after his brilliant performance.

The night was all about families and this showed in the support given form the audience, the pride of whanau and also in the way the contestants wanted to share their experience and success with those who had come along for them and been part of their journey.

We are very grateful to Tamati Coffey who did a great job as MC. Nerves were settled as he welcomed each contestant to the stage and stood by them as they received the judges' feedback. Thank you to Tamati for weaving this magical night together.

We were privileged to have guest judges Turanga Merito, Janaye Biddle-Kite, Neihana Mackie-Harrison and Mercia-Dawn Yates providing feedback and scoring each act.

Each judge has extensive experience in performance and in judging and developing top level performers. The judges acknowledged the star quality of the acts and also gave constructive feedback to help them journey further along their future path.

We are incredibly grateful to the sponsors of this event. Organisers Rotorua Library and Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru were generously supported by Rotorua Lakes Council, Creative Rotorua and the Friends of the Library. Without their support, this event would not have been possible.

Official Results


Winner: Poppy Langdon  (10) - Kawaha Point School

Runner-up: Madelyn Skilton (18) - Amjazz Dance School Teacher


Ngā mahi a Rēhia o te Ao

Winner: Rueao Te Moni (11) Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai

Runners-up: Ahipukahu Edmonds (10), Te Ahu Paenga (8) and Ngārangimihi Panapa (11) - Ahipukahu and Te Ahu attend Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Koutū and Ngārangimihi attends Rotorua Primary School.




Winner: Paretoroa Webster-Tarei (12) - Rotorua Intermediate School

Runners-up: Christian Te Whare (15) and Kahu Durie (15) - Rotorua Girls' High School


Peoples Choice Award


People's Choice Award Winner: Rueao Te Moni (11) Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai (pictured with his little sister).


Visit our Facebook page for more photos of the night.


Page reviewed: 21 Jul 2017 11:35am