Topics: Kapa Haka, Te Kei - Day 3, Te Matatini

Te Matatini performances captivate an international audience

By Wepiha Te Kanawa
  • South Island

Among the thousands of haka enthusiasts are tourists from around the world who have made their way to Hagley Park to get a piece of the action. The fierce performances and language barriers haven't deterred them from taking it all in.

The crowd are all eyes and ears and according to some English visitors at the event, “Its completely different from anything that we have back at home or anything, and it’s like a unique experience.”

Another group told Te Kāea, “We are from Malaysia and we came to see the kapa haka festival because we heard it was every two years once, and we are very excited that’s why we are all here just experience the cultures.”

Others also told Te Kāea, “We actually watched two of the performance and it was just fanstastic we cant wait to watch the rest of the performance.”

The Māori spirit was inescapable.

Another English visitor says, “I thought it was quite scary I was like omg we were right at the front and I was like omg we need to stand back.”

Meanwhile when our reporter asked one of the Malaysian manuhiri if the haka scared them, they replied, “A little bit, it does scare me a little bit but I really like it, i like how they are so enthusiastic and enjoying themselves.”

Hakarongo Mai connects people to Te Matatini on the air waves.

One of the translators for Hakarongo Mai FM,  Lewis Moeau says all the items, the mōteatea, the action song, the poi the entrance and the exit are all translated by himself and Rangi McGarvey.  

Overseas visitors have found this a very effective tool for them to understand the deeper meaning of the performances they are watching.

Another visitor told Te Kāea, it doesn't matter if they don’t understand “because I think you can feel the emotion and the dedication behind it, so it’s really touching it’s just fantastic to watch, you kind of have a connection even though you don't understand a word.”

For foreign visitors, it’s the show thats speaking louder than words.