Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival

4 – 8 March 2015, hosted by the Waitaha rohe at Hagley Park (North), Christchurch. Kia Rōnaki The Maori Performing Arts

Every two years, Te Matatini organises the Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival, where top kapa haka teams from New Zealand and Australia compete for the honour of being crowned the best of the best.

The Festival started in 1972 and is now the world’s largest celebration of Māori traditional performing arts, attracting over 30,000 performers, supporters and visitors.

Over four days audiences experience the best Māori performing arts in the world, from the harmonies of dynamic group singing to the graceful movements of women performing the poi and the ferocity of the male haka.

The Festival is a whānau friendly, smoke, alcohol and drug free event.  It is an opportunity for all people, regardless of culture, background or age to come together, to share and celebrate.

While the main focus is Kapa Haka , the Festival also celebrates Māori culture and cuisine.  Visitors can enjoy a range of retail and food stalls, art and craft exhibitions and other entertainment activities.

Day 1 – Pōwhiri b The Girls in the Kapahaka y the Tangata Whenua.

All Kapa Haka performers, supporters, dignitaries and visitors are welcomed by the local hosts.

Days 2, 3 and 4 – Pool Rounds (Te Ihu, Te Haumi, Te Kei).

Kapa Haka teams are required to perform six disciplines within their performance piece – whakaeke (a choreographed entry), mōteatea (traditional chant), poi (light ball swung on the end of a rope), waiata-ā-ringa (action song), haka and whakawātea (exit).  They must perfect every discipline in a polished 25-minute performance.

Each performance is judged against set criteria, by expert judges, appointed from around New Zealand.

Taonga (trophies) are awarded to the team with the highest score in the seven compulsory (aggregate) categ Waiata mai 35 Maori songs Leathem, Kare Rapata ories (the six disciplines mentioned and the seventh category, Te Reo Maori – the use and clarity of the Maori language). Further taonga are awarded across non compulsory (non-aggregate) categories such as Kaitātaki Wahine (Best Female Leader), Kaitātaki Tāne (Best Male Leader) and Kākahu (Costume).

The top three teams with the highest combined marks in their competition pool will compete in the Competition Finals.

Day 5 – The Finals (Te Whakarae)

The finalists are judged anew to determine third, second and the new Toa Whakaihuwaka – overall winner of the competition.

More information:

Walking, Talking

Living Dolls is another of those must reads for Feminists. It discusses the worrying backlash against feminism and a return to sexism.  Talking primarily about society in the UK it dissects the hyper-sexualisation of women and girls. Images from popular media to internet porn have reversed social taboos so that prostitution is glamourised and women once denied the right to a sexual identity are now ostracised as prudish and old-fashioned if they don’t claim their “rights” to  flaunt their sexuality.

Natasha Walter discusses how this narrow range of acceptable behaviour for women to behave as “ladettes” is just as restrictive as in the past. Now young women are seen as outsiders if they choose to dress conservatively and not be promiscuous, the ” ideal” woman is that of a Barbie doll.  The pressure to conform is so intense, that worryingly even some of the top academic students in the country (gaining firsts at Cambridge) feel more defined by their looks than their achievements.

Walter also discusses the recent return to the ideology of biological determinism. Whilst in the 1970s and 1980s, gender “appropriate” behaviour was thought to be learnt by social conditioning, recent “research” seems to indicate that there are inherent differences between girls and boys. Boys are said to be more aggressive and naturally better at logic, mathematics and spatial awareness whilst girls are better at language, empathy, and building relationships . In a manner similar to Ben Goldacre in Bad Science , Walter reveals many of these modern “facts” to be based on poor research and that studies showing the opposite or no effect are ignored by the media.

Arguing, that these “facts” affect girls own views of their abilities and life choices and lead to women as being thought of as ideally suited to be caregivers rather than chief executives. This book is a passionate call to arms for feminists everywhere to renew their fight.

Other recent feminist reads:

Exploring cultures in Christchurch

Marina Lewycka of Two Caravans fame visits Christchurch this Friday 19 February as the first of several interesting authors who explore cultural and ethnic themes. Andrea Levy and Xinran are also coming over the next few weeks. Women on Air are hosting these writers.

The library has many other novels about the immigrant experience which you may enjoy.

Various other events in the city leading up to Race Relations Day on 21 March serve to promote multicultural awareness and celebrate the growing diversity in this city.

Christchurch also welcomes 8 new Bhutanese refugee families to the city and a new influx of international students to our high schools and universities. We are certainly off to an exciting year of ethnic experiences – all without leaving home.