Topics: Entertainment, Kapa Haka, Te Matatini

Te Matatini - more than a biennial haka festival

By Tema Hemi
  • Wellington

Wellington City is still recovering from a huge weekend of kapa haka madness. Te Matatini ki te Ao proved itself as one of the most significant cultural events in Aotearoa as more than 60,000 people attended the four-day event at Westpac Stadium. But now Te Matatini has moved away from being just a bi-annual event and are now working on more community initiatives throughout the year. 

Despite a busy week for haka-goers, Te Matatini CEO Carl Ross says it's only the start of something bigger as he looks forward to the next event in Auckland, 2021. 

Ross says he's appreciative of all the hard work by the many organisations and volunteers who supported the festival. 

There has been 42 festivals since its inception and Westpac Trust Stadium has been by far the biggest venue yet. 

Ross says, "We moved Te Matatini from just being a biennial festival now to working on community projects that positively contribute to our well being. We move into our youth leadership programs, we move into our tertiary scholarship programme we got now, our kaumātua who still want to perform on stage we've got hui with them.

"We've aligned ourselves strategically with Kōhanga Reo so Mokotini is going to be pumping out there. I thank everyone; our strategic partners, all the different iwi, our national board.  It was a good combined effort. This is the first time we've come to a venue so big but were having to come to a venue so big now because Te Matatini is just growing every year and got bigger and bigger.

"So now its been announced we're going to Eden Park, im looking forward to going to Eden Park it was part of the due diligence process on how we can do that and we have learnt a lot from here on how we're gonna run things," says Ross.

Te Matatini values the relationship with the Wellington Council who was a major sponsor of this event.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says, "We've just adopted our Te Tauihu policy which is all about embracing te ao Māori and te reo Māori. And for us, that's perfect timing to make sure we see what the Māori world view is right here in the heart of our city, and there's no better way to express that than through Te Matatini."

The clean-up crew have until midnight tomorrow night to vacate the Westpac Trust Stadium.