Wellington Scoop

Crowds at national kapa haka contest prepared for rain

Photo: Westpac Stadium

Report from RNZ
The crowd numbers at Te Matatini have not been hampered by today’s rain.

Photo: RNZ

Yesterday 10,000 people attended the festival to watch some of the best kapa haka performers in the world.

Today the second pool of 15 groups, Te Haumi, all get their chance to show the judges they are the best.

Auckland group Nga Tumanako were a crowd favourite, however they will have to wait until Saturday night to find out if they are one of the nine finalists.

There are three pools of groups, the top three of each pool go through to the finals on Sunday. The nine finalists will then perform for the judges again and on Sunday afternoon the Te Tauihuwaka or the national champion will be announced.

Press Release – WREDA – February 21
Te Matatini Ki Te Ao National Kapa Haka Festival will see Wellington’s cultural pulse get a good workout when the leading event for traditional Māori performing arts makes its home at Westpac Stadium today.

The biennial festival will see 46 passionate teams from around New Zealand and Australia compete at the stadium in what is effectively the kapa haka world championships.

One of the performers is Gisborne-based Louise Kingi who has performed at every Te Matatini Festival since its inception in 1972. She has helped her team win five national titles including the inaugural ‘72 title.

Teams will stay in a range of hotels, motels and marae across the Wellington region including as far as the Hutt Valley and Waikanae.

The 2019 iteration of Te Matatini has taken a giant leap forward with the festival being held for the first time at the premier sports stadium – Westpac Stadium – located in the heart of a major city. Ticket sales have been strong and record attendance is anticipated.

Te Matatini Festival is a family-orientated, health-focused event. It’s alcohol and smoke-free and a range of caterers handpicked by festival officials will provide a range of healthy beverage and food options which does not include fried food. A giant kids playground will be set up just inside the main gates and traditional Māori arts and craft stalls will satisfy those looking to take home a special memento.

Kapa haka performers put in as many training hours as traditional athletes but unlike attending a rugby or football match at Westpac Stadium, there’s no need for spectators to sit in a specific seat, although some areas are reserved as a fanzone. So why not bring along a blanket and find the perfect position on the stadium’s hallowed turf to enjoy the on-stage action.

And what a stage it is, incorporating the world’s largest carving, “Te Mahau Ko Te Matatini”. Spanning more than30 metres and towering more than 13 metres into the air, the carving embraces the festival stage and its korero (narratives) celebrate traditions and connectivity between people and regions. It was created by carvers from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. Unveiled at Te Matatini 2013, it has become a permanent stage fixture at subsequent festivals.

While 44 of the teams are from New Zealand, including three from Wellington, there is also a team each from the Australian cities of Perth and Sydney who have their eyes set firmly on kapa haka glory. Members of the Australian-based teams are colloquially referred to as Mossies (short for Māori Aussies). The 2011 Australian Census revealed nearly 130,000 Māori lived in Australia, with two thirds of this population born in New Zealand.

Kapa haka is performed using te reo Māori but those with little or no understanding of the language can get to grips with the story unfolding on stage via the free Hakarongo Mai translate service which translates the kapa haka performance in real time.

“We are excited to be hosting the biggest Māori event in the world here in Wellington. This year we are expecting 60,000-plus attendees to enjoy the best global showcase of Māori performing arts,” says Te Matatini CEO Carl Ross.

WREDA Events and Experiences General Manager Warrick Dent says whilst Te Matatini takes place in Wellington city, the economic and social impact will be spread across the Wellington region.

“Teams and their supporters are staying in a range of accommodation including hotels, motels and marae, in the Wellington region as far as the Hutt Valley and Waikanae. This will see the region, not just the city, come alive with Māori ahurea and live up to Wellington’s reputation as the capital of culture.

“There are kapa haka inspired pop ups and fun events on the planning board leading into Te Matatini. They will give locals and visitors a great opportunity to learn, experience and appreciate the importance of kapa haka, which goes to the essence of what it means to be a New Zealander.”

Contemporary Māori art and demonstrations will be available at the Toi Māori Art Market at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke and outside at the jump platform on Taranaki Wharf a Bomb Comp will entertain the crowds as participants compete for prizes valued at more than $2000.

Te Matatini Society was incorporated in 1972 to foster, develop and protect excellence in Maori performing arts. The regional manaaki (host) Iwi for Te Matatini 2019 are Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngati Raukawa and Te Atiawa me ngā Iwi o Taranaki Whānui.

Press Release – Ministry For Culture And Heritage
Aotearoa’s vibrant and dynamic Māori culture will be front and centre stage at the biennial Te Matatini festival taking place in Wellington for the first time in 20 years.

“Te Matatini ki te Ao 2019 is a fantastic opportunity for New Zealanders and visitors to see Māori culture and performing arts at their finest,” says Bernadette Cavanagh, Chief Executive Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“Kapa haka brings our nation’s stories to life connecting people and places with our unique Māori heritage. Manatū Taonga is proud to support Te Matatini as its core funder.

“Kapa haka makes a significant contribution to New Zealand’s national identity and how we are seen internationally. It also has an important role in Māori language renewal throughout the country.

“Festival goers will be experiencing Te Mita Tini (Te Matatini’s Māori language strategy) first-hand with the use of te reo Māori encouraged by the many stall holders in the event village.

“As well as running the festival, Te Matatini Society supports and develops competitions for kapa haka in the regions including in schools and has a positive role in youth leadership programmes.

“Additionally, we know kapa haka has important social, economic and cultural benefits and research also tells us kapa haka encourages healthy lifestyles and has a powerful effect on educational outcomes.

“Up to 65,000 tickets are expected to be sold over the four-day festival hosted by Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga and Te Atiawa me ngā iwi o Taranaki whānui.

“This huge participation and spectator involvement with a total of 46 teams from across Aotearoa and Australia show the ongoing value and growth of kapa haka. My best wishes and thanks to every competitor for sharing their talent and experience with New Zealand and the world. Kapa haka is an all-inclusive activity and I encourage young and old to get along to this whānau friendly event and to visit us in our tent on the site.