Saturday, April 13, 2024

Haka ‘Olympics’ return to Auckland

Tāmaki Makaurau is preparing to host New Zealand’s haka ‘Olympics’, with the nation’s biggest kapa haka event, Te Matatini, to begin on 22 February.

The festival will be held over four days at Ngā Ana Wai Eden Park – the first time the competition has been hosted in Tāmaki Makaurau since 2002.

Te Matatini turned 50 in 2022, so the 2023 festival will also celebrates the milestone, Auckland Council said in a statement.

Competition among the rōpū (teams) from across the motu and beyond is expected to be fierce and passionate at this year’s event, the Council said.

Te Matatini

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited CEO, Nick Hill says it’s important the tens of thousands of fans and whānau members coming into Tāmaki Makaurau during the festival experience a “true Tāmaki Makaurau welcome”.

“Through collaboration and support from across our Auckland Council whānau, including Eke Panuku, Auckland Transport, Watercare, and hosts Eden Park, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Tāmaki Makaurau Senior Kapa Haka Society, we can all do our part to welcome thousands of supporters to our region,” said Mr Hill.

“We will be able to showcase and celebrate Auckland’s unique Māori identity and encourage first-time or die-hard kapa haka fans to come along to Eden Park; or encourage local and global audiences to watch online to experience the joy of kapa haka. Along the way, we will all be contributing to the celebration and revitalisation of te reo Māori.”

Marama Royal, Chair of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust, said the Trust was proud to be named the host iwi of Te Matatini Herenga Waka, Herenga Tangata.

“We look forward to welcoming the multitudes from across the country and the world, to Te Kahu Tōpuni o Tuperiri here in Tāmaki,” she says.

“This is such a significant kaupapa Māori event, one that really celebrates our culture, our language and our people. Following the postponement of Te Matatini 2021, it is wonderful to once again see and feel the haka hype as Te Ao Māori prepares to experience the best kapa haka the world has to offer at this legacy event.

“Nō reira haere mai e ngā iwi, haere mai e Te Matatini. Haere mai ki a au, ki Te Kahu Tōpuni o Tuperiri.”

For kapa haka hosts, Tāmaki Makaurau Senior Kapa Haka Society, a strong showing from Auckland-based kapa haka rōpū is a winning legacy, and a matter of great pride.

Chai,r Paora Sharples says in the 50-year history of national kapa haka competitions, Tāmaki Makaurau has won eight times – the most wins of any team.

“This year, we happen to have the current champions in the form of Ngā Tūmanako from Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auckland competing,” he says.

“Other Tāmaki Makaurau national champions competing are Te Roopū Manutaki (1977 and 1990) and Te Waka Huia, who won in 1986, 1992,1994, 2009 and 2013.”

Follow this link for Te Matatini Festival programme, competition information and ticket sales.

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