Topics: Kapa Haka, Te Matatini

Te Matatini prepares for Westpac Stadium

By Raniera Harrison

With a capacity of 34,500, Westpac Stadium, or affectionately referred to as 'The Cake Tin,' is set to host an estimated 1,500 kapahaka performers, and 55,000 spectators at the Te Matatini 2019.

The stadium, at the heart of Wellington City has already hosted numerous delegates of Te Matatini such as 2015 supreme champions, Te Whānau a Apanui at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in February 2016.

Te Matatini chair, Herewini Parata says "there is a need to always push the boundaries."

The world-class venue is at the forefront of a new direction and standard of excellence employed by Te Matatini in preparations for the 4-day competition, with Gisborne based team, Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti currently sitting as reigning champions.

The Te Matatini executive understands that there has been much speculation since Te Kahu o Te Amorangi - the Te Matatini held in the Hawkes Bay earlier this year.

"This is an issue that has been widely discussed since the moving of the life force of Te Matatini from Hawkes Bay to the Wellington region, to Waiwhetū" says Parata.

Te Matatini figures show that Te Kahu o Te Amorangi injected $11.2 million dollars into the Hawkes Bay regional economy - an exciting financial prospect the competition brings to a hosting region.

"The whole family will benefit - all ages from the elders to the children will be welcomed to Westpac Stadium to be entertained and take part in Te Matatini 2019" adds Parata.

The Wellington region last hosted the event in 1998 held at Trentham Race Course where Gisborne based side Waihīrere took top honours - winning the fourth of their five national kapahaka titles.

"This Te Matatini will bring together families and allow the language to be heard around Westpac Stadium" says Parata excited at the prospect that is upon Te Matatini at this time.

The competition is scheduled for the 21-24 February 2019.