The biannual Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival, where elite kapa haka performers from around New Zealand and Australia come together to compete, will be held in Christchurch in 2015.
Christchurch won its bid to host this prestigious cultural event after the Waitaha Cultural Council supported by representatives from the Christchurch City Council and Ngāi Tahu gave a final presentation to a panel in Wellington on Wednesday 22 February.
Waitaha Cultural Council Chairperson Ranui Ngarimu says, hosting Te Matatini will strengthen the culture of all iwi in Te Waipounamu.
“We are honoured to be hosting one of the most important iwi Māori events on the calendar.”
Deputy Mayor Ngaire Button says the Festival is regarded as the “premier Māori cultural performing arts festival”.
“It is the world’s largest celebration of Māori performing arts, showcasing Māori culture and talent and attracting upwards of 30,000 participants and visitors. So it’s a huge coup for the city and a fantastic opportunity to show the rest of New Zealand that Christchurch is still thriving with culture and events.”
Hundreds of teams throughout New Zealand and Australia compete in regional competitions for the honour to represent their club at Te Matatini – the national finals.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon is delighted Christchurch is hosting Te Matatini because it “creates an opportunity to give back to iwi who came and supported us in our time of need”.
“We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the support that we’ve had from iwi from all around the country. This is our chance to reciprocate that aroha, care and support.”
Te Matatini is not simply for Māori – it is open to all people, regardless of culture, background, or age to come together, to share and celebrate.
The event will be hosted by the Waitaha Cultural Council, Christchurch City Council and Ngāi Tahu with the support of Mātāwaka.