Rotorua mum describes 'beautiful' moment son performed haka at her graduation

A Rotorua mum has described the "beautiful" moment her teenage son performed a haka to celebrate her graduation.

Irene Moses graduated from Toi Ohomai-Te Pūkenga in Rotorua with a Bachelor of Social Work.

She joined hundreds of other graduates at Tangatarua Marae for the ceremony. But it was her 13-year-old son Tawhiri who created an unforgettable moment for her.

"My name got called out to go up and get my certificate, and then as I was greeting a couple of my tutors along the way, I just heard my son's voice start a haka, and I thought, 'Oh my God, there's my boy'," Irene told The Project.

"This is something that I didn't know he was going to do."

She said she turned around and saw him "in all his glory".

"It was beautiful."

A video of Tawhiri's haka was posted to TikTok and has since gained almost six million views. Tawhiri said he was shocked the following morning to see how many views it had.

"I just woke up and boom. 'Tawhiri, have you seen this? You're famous,'" he told The Project.

Tawhiri and Irene Moses.
Tawhiri and Irene Moses. Photo credit: The Project

But it may not be the final graduation ceremony Irene's part of - she's already eyeing more studying.

"I actually really enjoyed studying. When I decided to study, it was going to be now or never. So I jumped on in there. Social work was what I wanted to do. It was my passion. It was going to be my career," she said. 

"So I just got in there and did the four years of study and now I'm looking at doing more study."

Watch Irene and Tawhiri's interview above.