Huihuia te tini raukura ki a Taramainuku i te rangi e
Te kaihao i ngā tini mate ki te pō. Ka haku, ka tangi, haere, haere, haere atu rā.
Haruru te rangi, waipuke te whenua, he auē nō te tangata
Mai i te Tai Tokerau, ki te Ikaroa-Rāwhiti. Koutou kua pā kinotia e te huripari, e te waipuke. Ko koutou kei te tihi o whakaaro i tēnei wā, nō reirā, kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawa nui, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa
Kei ngā mata nui, kei ngā mata rahi
Te mana, te ihi, te wehi, Te Matatini – Nau Mai, Haere Mai rā
In the spirit of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland welcomes Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata festival this week, the biggest kapa haka event in the Māori calendar. The festival will be held over four days at Ngā Ana Wai Eden Park, starting from Wednesday, 22 February.
This festival will be especially poignant for participating kapa haka and their supporters after the devastating impacts of recent storm damages and disruptions across the North Island and two postponements due to Covid-19.
Te Matatini has worked with strategic partner Air New Zealand, the New Zealand Police, local councils and rohe representatives from Te Taitokerau, Te Tairawhiti and Ngati Kahungunu to support teams affected by Cyclone Gabriel to attend and compete at Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata 2023.
Flights have been confirmed for over 120 performers departing from Wellington, Gisborne and Napier to Auckland. All other teams are able to travel by bus and will arrive in Auckland over the next two days.
Kia kawea tātou e te rēhia
Festivities this week begin with the official Te Matatini pōwhiri hosted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Tāmaki Kapa Haka at Ōkahu Bay on Tuesday, 21 February. Competing teams will showcase their talents on the Te Matatini stage from Wednesday, with the finals on Saturday.
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Māori Outcomes Director Helen Te Hira says the ihi (essential life force and connection), the wehi (awe) and wana (exhilaration, energy and passion) of Te Matatini will lift the spirits of locals and manuhiri alike.
“Kapa haka brings people of all ages and backgrounds together, and this week, Tāmaki Makaurau is the home of kapa haka. Te Matatini won’t just be at Eden Park. It will live in our streets, our communities, and be streamed into our homes. Kia kawea tātou e te rēhia - let us be taken by the spirit of joy, of entertainment”.
“We have the opportunity to show our appreciation to all those kapa haka who have worked so hard over some very tough years to be with us and showcase their talent and commitment to excellence.”
For Te Matatini judge and chair of Tāmaki Makaurau Senior Kapa Haka Society Paora Sharples, this Te Matatini is all about showing standing strong in the face of adversity and within te ao Māori.
“The pōwhiri is the first coming together, a ritual of encounter, preparing the way in Māori tikanga and demonstrating rangatiratanga and manaakitanga – leadership and hospitality as hosts,” he says.
When it comes to the competition, as a judge Sharples is looking forward to seeing excellence, professionalism and dynamic performances. “Every festival brings a new standard of excellence and as artists we always try and push those boundaries,” he says.
“As well as the official competition on stage, there is also a competition off stage to show hospitality to our visitors. I look forward to coming together to be excellent hosts to the thousands who will be attending the festival each day.”
For the first time in 20 years, kapa haka will be broadcast to a mainstream audience, with live performances on TVNZ2 and on-demand viewing through TVNZ+. Sharples sees this as an extension of how popular kapa haka is becoming through our schools and its association with our national identity.
“Kapa haka belongs to all of us,” says Sharples, “It is part of our history and identity as Kiwis.”
This week, everyone in Tāmaki Makaurau gets to embrace and celebrate that identity.
- Auckland Council group has provided funding support through its Māori Outcomes fund, with a variety of festival contributions and activities from across Council and CCOs including Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, Eke Panuku, Auckland Transport, and Watercare.
- Tātaki Auckland Unlimited is behind the Haka is Here campaign, visible across the city centre in vibrant Te Matatini blues and greens. Haka is Here shares a variety of activities from the across the Council group and other organisations, celebrating the spirit of Te Matatini in Tāmaki Makaurau.
- Events and activities across Tāmaki Makaurau: www.aucklandnz.com/haka-is-here
- Te Matatini Festival programme, competition information and ticket sales: www.tematatini.co.nz