Wednesday marked the opening of what is one of the biggest events on the National Māori calendar. Eagerly awaited by thousands, this biennial event is the paramount event for Māori performing arts. An extravaganza of live performance and a bringing together of some of the best exponents and practitioners of the art form from across iwi and the motu.
Places at the Nationals are hotly contested within individual rohe. Top qualifying groups from each district make the National competition. The amount of work that goes into the stand of each group is immense. Original composition, choreography, vocal excellence, beauty and excellence in the language as well as physical fitness are all required.
Participation at this level also requires a mastery of a variety of art forms – from mōteatea to poi to haka and traditional weaponry. Hundreds of hours of relentless practice and commitment are required from members of groups that take months if not years in the preparation of what they will share with the mutitudes when they take the stage. The result is a feast for the senses and the soul, each group bringing the best they have. The best groups embody all the aspects of ihi, wana and wehi.
Various components of each set are judged and scored. Each set consists of waiata tira, mōteatea, whakaeke, waiata ā ringa, poi, haka and whakawātea. Individual items as well as other components such as excellence in the Reo, original composition, kākahu, kaitātaki tane and kaitāki wahine are all judged and scored to help decide the overall winner of each judged item and to decide the eventual overall winner.
Everyone has their own favourite kapa and star performers, the choreography that causes “ohhs ” and “aahhhs”, the brilliance of new original compositions. Te Matatini inspires excellence in all the performers, and has been known to spark many a conversation, ignite hapū, iwi and rohe pride. Occasionally results have been known to cause debate or some controversy, but one thing is for sure – Te Matatini never disappoints.
If you’d like to find out more, Te Matatini have their own website where you can find more in-depth information. Māori Television is live streaming and on offering on demand services to New Zealand, Australia and America. The Facebook pages of Te Kaea and Māori Television are offering up to the minute social media updates. Every group gets their moment in the spotlight with the top scorers in each pool qualifying for finals on Sunday (you can find a full programme here.)
Christchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.
UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day is on 21 February. In this episode Sally speaks with University of Canterbury and Growing up with Two Languages researchers Una Cunningham and Jin Kim, and activists/teachers Anya Filippochkina and Jawad Arefi, who discuss community/heritage language bi- and multilingualism in a single language-dominant society.
Part I: Defining ‘mother language’, ‘first language’ etc
Part II: Cognitive, professional and social benefits of speaking multiple languages; first language use among first- and second-generation migrants
Part III: Challenges to encouraging continued engagement with first languages in a single language-dominant society
Christchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from New Zealand’s only specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.
The latest episode deals with issues surrounding land in Canterbury that since the 2010/2011 earthquakes has been zoned red and no longer suitable for residential use.
Part I: Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford talks us through the impacts of the red zoning on people still residing in these areas, including in terms of mental health. With reference to the Staying in the Red Zones Report.
Part II: What has happened with the red zoned land since 2011 in Waimakariri District and Christchurch city? What are the differences between the various red zoned areas? What lessons can the Waimakariri experience provide for Christchurch?
Part III: Public consultation processes – what suggestions have already been proposed? Are people disengaged and how can they be re-engaged? What is the importance of the land for today and future generations? What do you hope to see happen with the land?