Topic: Te Matatini

Te Reo now an aggregate item for Te Matatini

Today it has been confirmed that the Māori language is included as an aggregate item in the Te Matatini at the organisation's AGM in Wellington.

A contentious issue was first raised by language advocates who felt that as an integral part of kapa haka, Te Reo needed to be recognised accordingly.

Delegates from the 13 competing regions met today, the main topic on the agenda was the inclusion of te reo in the aggregate section. The Chairman of Te Matatini, Herewini Parata said that the majority voted in favour of the move.

However concerns over how the section would be judged had some kapahaka exponents opposing the call.

Tihi Puanaki has been teaching kapa haka for 30 years. After teaching school students and adults, many of who joined her group Te Kōtahitanga entered into Te Matatini. After Te Matatini's announcement today to include te reo as an aggregate item in the festival, she was disappointed.

However, other kapa haka and language experts like Kaa Williams have been advocating for years to give the language it's rightful place within the aggregate judging sector, they say it's not about excluding long standing groups, but rather encouraging excellence in the language.

With a host of opinions from performers, tutors and judges alike, Te Matatini's decision has now become part of the rules. The question many are asking now however is what is high quality reo?

So, adding to the six disciplines currently being competed, now groups will have to worry about a seventh in their preparations for the next competition being held in Christchurch on March 2015.

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