Ngāti Kahungunu look to Te Matatini and foreign investors to boost economy

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

In recent years the world's biggest kapa haka festival Te Matatini has boosted local economies by tens of millions.

In 2017, Ngāti Kahungunu want to keep it that way and have invited wealthy Asian and Pacific business partners to the festival to help develop trade opportunities with locals.

In a little under two years, Ngāti Kahungunu will host the top 40 kapa haka teams in the world along with an expected 30,000 supporters.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says, “We want to strengthen the trade route between Māori business here and across the country.  That includes business connections in Australia, Asia and the Pacific region.”

Bring them here to meet face to face with Māori on how to move forward together with business opportunities between Māori, Asia and the Vietnamese.

The world of competitive kapa haka is big business for local economies.

In 2011 it brought in $12 million to Gisborne, which increased to $17 million when Te Arawa hosted it.

Then last year's hosts Ngāi Tahu bought in a massive $24 million to the local economy.

Tomoana says, “We want them to come here to celebrate Te Matatini with us, but also through creating business opportunities through culture the economy can thrive, which then is beneficial to everyone.”

The iwi want to maximise the economic benefits of the estimated $30 million that will be pumped into the Hawke's Bay economy.