Wellington’s Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival ·

Wellington’s Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival

The world cup of Kapa Haka; this year’s festival theme will be “Te Matatini ki the Ao” which translates in English to “the many faces to the world”, an embodiment of the aspirations and dreams of the festival hosts Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Atiawa me ngā iwi o Taranaki whānui.

This is a biennial significant cultural festival and the pinnacle event for Māori performing arts. The iwi of the region – whose responsibility it is to manaaki visitors to the festival – envisage a festival brand that will exemplify the cultural vibrancy of Wellington.

The festival is one of the most highly anticipated events for papa hakka performers, their whānau and the mass of passionate kapa haka fans throughout the world. Performers push the boundaries of kapa haka technically, artistically, musically and physically in a competition of spirit, verve and determination.

The competition is fierce, this year there are 10,000+ audience members, 3,000 performers and 46 teams expected to attend from around Aotearoa and Australia. Among these teams are two teams from Australia – Te Hoe Ki Matangireia (Sydney) and Manawa mai Tawhiti (Perth), who will aim to rival reigning 2017 champs, Te Kapa Hala o Whangara Mai Tawhiti from Te Tairawhiti, Gisborne!

Why now? This will be the first and last opportunity for the next 20 years to attend Te Matatini in Wellington. While Te Matatini has been held in the Wellington region (Upper Hutt hosted it in 1979 and 1998), never before has it been held in the heart of the capital. Wellington is gearing up to host Te Matatini with characteristic passion and energy as the whole city gets in behind this exciting cultural event.

Whilst at Te Matatini, visitors should experience the below “must-dos” for the ultimate Kiwi cultural experience:

– Enjoy a scenic coastal walk with panoramic views from Wellington CBD to Wairarapa and Kapiti
– Cycle along the beautiful scenic waterfront
– Paddle a waka (canoe) in Wellington’s iconic harbour
– Eat some kai at the weekly Sunday markets
– Take a day trip to Kapiti Island; NZ’s internationally renowned nature reserve and bird sanctuary
– Twilight Tour at Zealandia – Meet the rare, endangered, sometimes raucous and always beautiful native birds at Zealandia
– Take a ride on Wellington’s historic bright red Cable Car
– Eat at Wellington’s new restaurant; Hiakai which specializes in Michelin-style Maori cuisine
– Visit Museum of New Zealand Te Papa and take an in-depth journey discovering Te Papa’s tang (Maori cultural treasures) whilst hearing stories for insights into Maori culture

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