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 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.

Waitangi Day in Christchurch and Canterbury – Friday 6 February 2015

Find out about Christchurch and Canterbury Waitangi Day celebrations this year.
Rapaki Marae citizenship ceremony
6 February 2014. Rāpaki Marae citizenship ceremony. Flickr: 2014-02-06-Citizenship6Feb2014PR-0082. Photo supplied by Christchurch City Council.

Rāpaki Marae 37 Rapaki Drive, Lyttelton

A Waitangi Day community event providing a Māori cultural experience on the marae in conjunction with the Citizenship Ceremony.

10.00am Prepare visitors for an outside welcome ceremony
10.30am Powhiri – Welcome ceremony followed by light refreshments.
11.30am Citizenship Ceremony – Mayor Lianne Dalziel will confer citizenship on new citizens at Rāpaki Marae.
Items by members of Te Ahikaaroa Kapahaka group
1.00pm Hangi, whanau/family activities

Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum 1146 Main Road, Okains Bay

40th consecutive commemorations. The event includes a traditional welcome to the Marae for officials and guests followed by speeches. Local iwi will put down a hangi, re-enact the first landing in two of the Museum’s large Waka. There wil be displays and activities throughout the day, with some stalls, music and access to whole Museum precinct.

Waka launch, Waitangi Day, Okain’s Bay
Waka launch, Waitangi Day, Okain’s Bay, 6 February 1977 Flickr: HWC08-SO10

Rehua Marae 79 Springfield Road, St Albans

There is a Whanau Day at Rehua Marae from 10am to 2pm. Enjoy and participate in weaving, mirimiri, rongoa, tamariki activities, waiata, history of Rehua, and Treaty of Waitangi information.

One Love Waitangi Day Reggae Sound System Albion Square, Lyttelton

A day of celebration with the Kindred Soundsystem playing reggae music all afternoon in Albion Square.

I love New Brighton Thomson Park, Marine Parade, New Brighton

Sports clubs offering have-a-go sport tasters, New Brighton market, live music, food stalls, bouncy castles, free Hellers sausages and information about local community organisations and services.

Kaiapoi Waitangi Day Family Celebrations Troussellot Park, Kaiapoi

A family-friendly event with music, kids’ entertainment and activities, and games.

Ngāi Tahu Treaty Festival

Every year Ngāi Tahu commemorates Waitangi Day at one of three locations where the iwi signed the Treaty – Awarua, Ōtākou and Ōnuku. In 2015, the Ngāi Tahu Treaty Festival celebrating 175th Anniversary of Treaty is at Te Rau Aroha Marae, at Awarua / Bluff. Pōwhiri starts 11am.

More events on Waitangi Day

Find out more

Matariki – the many stories of the Maori New Year

Tēnā ngā kanohi kua tīkona e Matariki

Matariki will keep you awake

About MatarikiThe constellation of Matariki rises in the dawn sky on Saturday 28th Piripi (June).  To see this return you will need to up before the sun rises, at the beach and looking slightly northeast.

Māori New Year, which is heralded by Matariki gracing our skies again, is a time of celebration and rememberance. There is no better time than as the winter solstice comes around to gather together and do some celebrating and remembering with the ones you love.

Matariki events

IMG_4675There are some Matariki events that you could add to your list of celebrations and new things happening in the library this month. They are free of charge:

A Tane me ngā Whetu – Tane and the Stars

Join us at Upper Riccarton Library on Wednesday 25th June from 6.15 – 7.30pm for stories around Matariki. Come with the tamariki or just yourself, dress code PJs and blankie.

Te Kura Takurua – Winter Seminar Series

Joseph Hullen will be at Linwood Library (upstairs at Eastgate Mall) on Thursday 26th June from 6.00 – 7.50pm and talking about “The Sharing of Rongoā” traditional Māori healing with a focus on Te Taiao (the environment).

Whānau Fun Day at Rehua Marae 

Join the library and much more at Rehua Marae, 79 Springfield Road, St Albans on Saturday 28th June 10am-4pm.

More Matariki ideas

A time for planning the year ahead : for kai/food and the planting of crops, winter is a great time to be getting your planting and mahi/work schedule sorted. Aiming to do something this next year that you have never done before? Now is a good time to really get yourself committed.

A time for reflection and celebrating the world around us: – have you made contact with whānau and friends that you have not seen or heard from for a while? Break the ice and send a Matariki postcard available from your local library. Better still get the whole whānau to write a family postcard (or 6!)

Learn something new: While you are flicking through the winter’s TV offerings wondering how better to spend your evenings as the weather and darkness desends – try a new craft/hobby; learn Te Reo Māori, teach your tamariki/mokopuna some good old fashioned games or come up with a whānau winter ritual.

Have a Matariki feast – get to know your neighbours, invite the whānau and your friends to celebrate Matariki. Theme your hākari around winter, stars, stories, favourate whānau food through the generations (that may be enlightening). A simple afternoon tea with warming hot chocolate and star shaped biscuits is manageable for most of us.

Light up your whare – do not be shy – those fairy lights that glisten and twinkle just like the constellation of Matariki look their very best in the cold dark of winter nights.

Whaka-whānaungātanga and Manaaki – two beautiful Te Reo Māori words that encompass the feelings and actions around caring for others, welcoming, sharing, hospitality, and the building of relationships to assist with a sense of belonging and togetherness. Have you experienced Manaakitanga or whānaungātanga?

Kōrero Paki – telling stories – invite friends and whānau to have a story themed event whereby everyone has the oppurtunity to share a story that the rest of the whānau may not know or a favourite of course. A great way to keep oral traditions healthy and family ‘grapevines’ going.

Learn about Matariki, Te Ao Māori and Tātai Arorangi (Māori Astronomy)  Take the time to go beyond the seven star constellation and learn about Māori cosmology and see how it differs or is similar to other cultures.

Cover of Tatai ArorangiRead Work of the Gods by Kay Leather and Richard Hall  explores Tātai Arorangi,  Māori Astronomy and star lore. There are some great stories to share in this little gem of a book.

Explore our resources

So, what are you doing for Matariki? Is Matariki keeping you awake?  Let us know.

Whanau fun at the Rehua Marae

Kia ora. There is a cool event at Rehua Marae this week.

Matariki community evening  Thursday 27 June 2013
Kapahaka performed by Papanui High Rōpū and some great story-telling performances by Christchurch City Libraries staff. You can also check out our new Mobile van which is loaded up with a great range of resources from our Nga Pounamu Maori collections across the network.  Kia ora. Sorry but this event has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances..

Whanau fun day Saturday 29 June 2013
This Whānau Day features activities, entertainment, and plenty to see and do.

Rehua Marae is at 79 Springfield Road, St Albans, Christchurch. This page explains its history – it is a wonderful place.

These photos show some pictures from our previous sessions for Matariki.

Matariki at the MaraeCrafts at the Whanau Fun DayStory blanket display at Rehua

Our names and places: Cultural mapping

Are you interested in Ōtautahi names and stories: As part of our programme of events for Matariki and Māori Language Week our Central Library Peterborough will be hosting Takerei Norton talking about the Ngāi Tahu Cultural mapping project.

He will share his knowledge of  the collection of stories and names that have been gathered from Ngāi Tahu kaumatua relating to the land.

Come along  on Wednesday, 19 June 2013, 6 – 8:30pm (THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER – WILL BE RESCHEDULED)

Exploring Otautahi

Imagine a distant past where the mist and fog shrouded flatlands, spreading out towards the sea, rich with bird and water life …


A description of Ōtautahi/Christchurch from well before my great-grandparents arrived.  The earthquakes have reminded us of the swampy start the city had, but what else do we know about those early times and lives of Ōtautahi?

To find out, visit Tī Kōuka Whenua, a website within our website, packed full with knowledge of local Māori history.

Navigate using the maps or index, and let yourself wander and learn about another time in the life of our city and surrounds. Places, people and their joint histories are explained here.

Rapanui, or Shag Rock was once a pointer to The Estuary/Te Wahapū and the wetlands beyond. The pre-earthquake image is of course more elegant than the untidy pile it has become. The estuary was not only an abundant source of food, but created opportunities to trade and connect among the hundreds of  people who resided here.

There are some scary snippets of Māori history in this little treasure too, like the spine-chilling story attached to Ō Kete Upoko. It’s not hard to build a picture of thriving and vibrant communities all around Canterbury and Banks Peninsula./Horomaka.  Such as the stories of Kawatea/Okains Bay. I will definitely visit the museum there this summer!


Did you know that Mt Bossu/Tuhiraki, a peak in Akaroa harbour is said to have been formed when the Ngāi Tahu explorer Rākaihautū thrust his kō (digging stick) into Horomaka after using it to dig out all the principal lakes of Te Wai Pounamu  including nearby Te Roto o Wairewa and Te Waihora? Reading about the recent bloody history of Kaiapoi I learnt the meaning of the name comes from the fact that  kai/food for the Pa at that site needed to be brought in from elsewhere/swung in or ‘poi’ to feed the inhabitants.

Tī Kōuka Whenua gives us a glimpse of a way of life in Te Ao Māori and allows us to gain more than just a picture of events.  Ngā Kohatu Whakarakaraka o Tamatea Pōkai Whenua, which is the Māori name for the Port Hills is an example, where reading about Te Poho o Tamatea leaves us searching for more and more…

At the bottom of each page the sources used are named, and many of these are available through the library catalogue.

If you’re hungry for more information about Te Ao Māori, look through our resources on the Māori Tab of our website. Not to be missed is Te Whata Raki, where waiata and pictures together teach us some traditional stories.

The message included on the introduction page still applies:

Toitū te whenua ~ Leave the land undisturbed.

Schoolhouse at Rapaki

Sharing stories at Rehua Marae

Monday 25 June was the first day of our Story blanket Exhibition at Rehua Marae, part of our programme of events this year at Christchurch City Libraries to celebrate Matariki. It was well attended with nearly 100 people from tamariki to kaumātua coming down to visit on the first day. Reactions so far have been wonderful – exclamations of wonder, up-close and personal examinations by little eyes and fingers with oohhs and ahhs, to tears of appreciation. If you haven’t seen it yet you should come down and check it out for yourself.

“What is a storyblanket?” I hear you thinking … well, our storyblankets are visual retellings of six well-known New Zealand stories depicted on a blanket. The way the storyblanket exhibition works is that you can come down to the Marae, look at the blankets which are made up on mattresses in the wharenui and read the stories that have inspired them while you’re here.
Story blanket display at Rehua Story blanket display at Rehua

Story blanket display at Rehua Story blanket display at Rehua

Story blanket display at Rehua Story blanket display at Rehua

The storyblankets themselves have been several months in the making. The whakaaro behind the project was this: traditionally, Matariki was a time for wānanga (learning). With this in mind we decided to explore the idea of wānanga from a library perspective – in a sense libraries are giant storehouses of stories. We thought we could do this by looking at the idea of sharing kōrero or story across generations at Matariki, with a focus on pakiwaitara and pūrākau. The idea of the storyblankets exhibition was to express the essence of a story in a visual format.

We approached six authors with our idea, who graciously granted us permission to use their works as a source of inspiration for these taonga. The books we chose were:

Library teams from across the city then swung into action, retelling the story they had chosen on their blanket. Some teams used this as an opportunity to work alongside customers and local groups in their communities to collaborate on the artworks. Once completed they were then gathered up and brought out to Rehua. You can see some photos on our Flickr site.

Conceptually, in Te Ao Māori (if you can think outside the square a little), the wharenui is similar in some ways to a library. The whare represents the body of an ancestor, a shelter and gathering place for their descendants and is a living repository of kōrero. The whakairo (carvings), tukutuku (woven lattice workpanels) kōwhaiwhai and their placement inside the whare record and tell the stories, history and whakapapa (genealogy) of the local hapū/people who belong to a particular marae- connecting the past and the present. For us, having the opportunity to share this exhibition with the community in partnership with Rehua Marae is wonderful –  in a sense we are taking the library to the library – and it’s awesome being out there in the community. Ka rawe!

The Storyblankets will be at Rehua for the rest of this week between 10am -4pm. If you can’t make it weekdays there is a whānau fun day this Saturday, again from 10am-4pm with a lot of free fun activities planned, including weaving workshops, waiata session, storytime, readings by local authors Ben Brown and Gavin Bishop (of their books that feature in the exhibition), Random Acts of Music are coming down, and there will also be stalls and kapahaka performances.

How are you celebrating Matariki this year? We’d love to hear what others are doing. If you’re in Christchurch, think about coming down to Rehua and celebrate Matariki 2012 by sharing some stories with us? We’d love to see you!

Words for Christchurch: Keri Hulme


The green tunnels of my dreams
are still invaded by the sea-
the wreck waves hurtle over the cribs
and cetaceans I have never seen
rollick & clamour & band together to fossick where homes have been

-the home at Leaver Terrace
where I grew up
may still stand

was headed home there when we were warned of a tsunami & sent off early from Aranui High

we sped to New Brighton beach
to watch for it,
off the old pier-

Tautahi knew vibrant swamps,
rich with lively food
-change is not new here

our islands have dived like dolphins below the sea time & time before: our hills are sea-carved our mountains jagged from upthrust -no steadfast footing anywhere nearby- just a sure blue light of certainty that I, as a dreamer, trust- we will continue living in these unsteady lands hoping & dying & helping & building -because we are human, because we must-