After almost 30 years, Ngāi Tahu and Waitaha rohe are geared up to host the world’s largest kapa haka showcase, Te Matatini 2015, kicking off with a pōhiri this morning at 11am.
The competition will see the culmination of months of practise and passion come to the fore as the 45 groups are officially welcomed today and take to the stage over 4 days to battle for a spot in the finals round, which will be held on Sunday March 8.
The rohe, iwi and mana whenua have united to ensure those converging on Christchurch are well looked after under the overarching theme of "He Ngākau Aroha". Organisers believe this will be an ample opportunity to give thanks to the nation and those who threw support behind all the communities of Christchurch following the devastating Earthquake in 2011.
The entire iwi has pitched in and many have volunteered their time to prepare for the event, the pōhiri and the ample hakari set to follow the arrival of the groups and tāonga of Te Matatini.
At least 5,000 people are expected to attend the pōhiri which will be followed by a hākari prepared especially for the occasion. Many more performers, supporters and businesses will fill Hagley Park over the duration of the competition.
The Christchurch City Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu have supported the Waitaha Cultural Council through preparations for the event and organisers believe it’s a prime example of communities uniting to help bolster an event that helps showcase the unique culture and tradition of Aōtearoa.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu have also produced a 5-part web series documenting their journey through the process as a means of keeping people informed and providing valuable information and records for future generations.
Ngāi Tahu will also be providing all those attending the opportunity to give their ‘He Ngākau Aroha’ messages of support at the event online.
Te Kāea has a full team in Christchurch and will bring you in depth coverage throughout the event and our online team will load an individual clip from each group throughout the competition.
Over 30,000 people are expected to fill the city over the next few days to celebrate the national event.