Performers at the next Te Matatini kapa haka festival to be held in Ngāti Kahungunu in 2017 will be under observation thanks to a new University of Waikato course which will help judges assess the quality of te reo Māori being used in performances.
Te Matatini is providing and funding 10 scholarships for judges to study the intricacies of the language used in performances and judge it accordingly.
Senior tikanga lecturer, Te Kahautu Maxwell, alongside Professor Pou Temara will teach the course.
Maxwell says the block course will consist of two strands: a theoretical component covering issues such as language, grammar and punctuation; and a practical one where students will assess the language aurally.
He also says the course is aimed at current and aspiring kapa haka judges.
"They need to have a background in judging at regional or national senior level or national junior competitions and we will welcome emerging judges.”
“A number of senior judges – some who don’t need it – have signed up and that will be good mentoring for emerging judges to sit shoulder to shoulder with some senior judges,” he adds.
It is said that the course will give them the told to move confidently into judging, along with recognising the skills and experience they already have.
Te Matatini 2017 will be hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu in the Hawke's Bay from 22-26 February.
The Post Graduate Certificate in Assessing Te Reo Māori in a Competitive Environment begins on September 4.