January 24, 2023
Kapa ready for Te Matatini
The top kapa haka from around the country are putting the finishing touches on their routines for next month’s national championship.
Te Matatini organisers are expecting more than 50,000 spectators will attend over the four days of the event at Ngā Ana Wai Eden Park.
Tāmaki Makaurau Senior Kapa Haka Society chair Paora Sharples says it’s the country’s biggest Māori cultural event and involves months of gruelling training, practice, and sacrifice.
He says five teams have pulled out for a variety of reasons, including losing members since they first qualified three years ago, but the 45 remaining roopuu will be as ready as they can be on February 22.
“This is all volunteers you know. Performers put themselves through months of training, and looking to get the baby-sitters and all sorts of things like four or five months in order to do this so… you know, no-one’s getting paid,” Mr Sharples says.
He says kapa haka is part of the changing Aotearoa landscape, where Māori culture is being embraced by a broader cross-section of the community.