At the crack of dawn, dedicated supporters and whānau showed up in full force at the Te Matatini gates even though they weren’t open to the public until 7am.
Eager kapa haka fans from all over the motu and abroad were lined up as early as 5am to secure the best spot for day one of the world’s largest Māori performing arts event.
People came prepared, armed with all the necessary equipment for the day ahead, armed with whāriki, tarpolines, blankets and mats to mark their territory, chairs for comfort, umbrellas and rain jackets and of course chilly bins packed with kai.
Kaumātua braved cooler temperatures and were escorted to their designated area gaining first access to the Te Matatini grounds.
Gates opened and people scrambled in to Kahungunu Park, racing for the best spot, some even calling on their mokopuna to race ahead to secure a space.
Not only do you have to claim a spot, you have to keep it and tomorrow the clock winds back and the battle starts all over again.