Te Matatini: Excellence in Māori Performing Arts

Te Matatini.  The many faces.

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.

Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival
Crowd watches performers on a big screen, Hagley Park, Te Matatini 2015, Flickr File Reference: 2015-03-05- IMG_5900

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.)

If you would like to learn about Māori performing arts in more depth, we have some great resources available in our libraries. As a starting point, you might like to look at our Matatini – Māori Performing Arts resource list.

Find out more

Aurelia Arona,
Ngā Ratonga Māori / Māori Services

Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival

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. From 4 to 8 March 2015, Te Matatini will be hosted by the Waitaha rohe at Hagley Park (North), Christchurch.

Te-Matatini-Large-670x362

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

Find out more about kapa haka.

More information

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.

Te Matatini 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, Te Matatini also celebrates Māori culture and cuisine. Visitors can enjoy a range of retail and food stalls, art and craft exhibitions and other entertainment activities.

Festival competition

Day 1 – Pōwhiri by 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) categories (the six discplines mentioned and the seventh category, Te Reo Māori – 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.

The Venue – Pūtaringamotu

Te Matatini takes place in Hagley Park. It lies within the wakawaka of Pūtaraingamotu, the site of one of the many kāika (settlements) established in the maze of swamps, waterways and lagoons lying between Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and the Waimakariri River.

Pūtaringamotu means either the place of an echo or the severed ear. The latter is a metaphoric expression referring to ‘bush isolated from the rest’. This is in reference to the great fire that swept across Ngā Pākihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha (the Canterbury Plains) during the moa hunter period, leaving behind this bush remnant.

Local Māori also believed that at a certain place in the forest, those trained and skilled in the practice could hear the sound of people approaching on the trails through the surrounding swamp by putting an ear to the ground, hence the name ‘place of an echo.’

Te Matatini web series by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Te Matatini videos and livestream

Māori Television has videos of the haka groups performing at Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival being held at Pūtaringamotu, Christchurch.

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:

Kapa haka in Christchurch

The next two Saturdays are kapa haka competition time in Otautahi.

Find out more about kapa haka.

Photo of Kapa Haka group, Glendale School, Wainuiomata - Photograph taken by Ross Giblin. Further negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1995/0752/14A-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Kapa Haka group, Glendale School, Wainuiomata – Photograph taken by Ross Giblin. Further negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1995/0752/14A-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23072394

Billboards, hoardings and the prosecution of William Posters

Cover: Paste UpI have always liked the music posters that adorn the hoarding around construction sites. Whilst waiting for the bus to arrive, I would discover that open mike night was on Wednesday, a band with a doubtful name would be playing in a seedy bar in an unsavory part of town, and the National Ballet would be performing The Nutcracker in two months’ time.

Unfortunately, not everyone appreciated these informative, ephemeral works of art. One night the posters were ripped off, the hoardings painted white and “Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted” was stencilled across the hoarding in big, black letters. My early morning reading material was gone. How was I to find out when my favorite band was going to tour my home town or release a new album? Thank goodness, a new poster soon appeared: “William Posters Is Innocent”. The posters came back and Split Enz released a new album in early April 1978.

At Shirley Community Library, the spirit of Bill Posters lives on. Our small billboard promotes Music Month and the acts that will be performing here: Helen Webby, Shirley Primary School Kapa Haka, Sam Dally and Midge McCleary.

The bills went up when no-one was looking and William Posters was not prosecuted.

NZ Music Month display at Shirley Library From the Digital Images Collection

P.S. For more photos of the display, check out our Flickr photostream.

Kapa haka

The Waitaha Primary Schools Kapa Haka Competitions 2009 was held Saturday 31st October at the Aurora Centre, Burnside High School, Christchurch. It was an action packed day full of primary and intermediate school-aged children, singing and performing their hearts out!

Eight schools competed; six in the competitive section and two in the entertainment section. Top honours were taken out by Te Kura Whakapūmau i te Reo Tūturu ki Waitaha, second place to Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whānau Tahi and third place awarded to Shirley Intermediate School.

Find out more about the cultural phenomenon that is Kapa haka: