This morning, the 2018 Tainui Waka Cultural Trust Kapa Haka Festival kicked off at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton.
Today's festival boasts some of Aotearoa's finest haka groups in Aotearoa. Over 500 performers from a total of 17 groups will take the regional stage.
From the 17 groups, five will qualify to advance to the 2019 Te Matatini national competition to be held in Wellington.
The first group to perform this morning was Tainui Takatū (originally entered as Ngā Takahanga o Raukawa), a group of festival supporters that was only formed a few days ago.
Some of the other new groups to look out for today are Ngā Pua o te Kōwhara, Te Kōpū Mānia and Ngā Pou o Taniwharau.
Tips for today's festival:
Organisers of today's festival are expecting over 4000 visitors to Claudelands making the biennial event a drawcard to Tainui descendants across Aotearoa.
Tickets have been on sale before the event via Ticketek, however, tickets bought today can only be purchased at the door. Under 5s do not need tickets but will be given a wristband at the door.
Unlike the last two festivals, organisers have allowed visitors to bring their own kai (kai prepared at home) into the venue, however, commercial kai like KFC, McDonald's, Subway etc will not be allowed in.
Performances will be live-streamed via www.maoritelevision.com/haka/tainui.
Prizegiving is expected to commence at 8:30pm, make sure to check out the Te Kāea facebook page for updates throughout the day.