East Coast hosts Te Matatini festival 2011
24 Aug 2010
Te Matatini - Gisborne, East Coast
17 - 20 February 2011
Historic culture-rich Gisborne, on New Zealand's remote North Island East Coast, is warming up to host the world's biggest kapa haka performing arts festival - Te Matatini, in early 2011.
The festival of Māori performing arts will involve more than 2000 artists and tens of thousands of spectators gathered for four days of dance, drama, storytelling, poetry, song and movement.
Held every two years, Te Matatini - which means "the many faces" - has become the highlight of the Māori cultural events calendar, providing a colourful spectacle on the stage as well as a valuable insight into New Zealand culture off-stage.
Supreme kapa haka title
More than 42 teams from around New Zealand and Australia will compete for the coveted title of best kapa haka team in the world.
Judges will spend the first three days of competition selecting three teams for the finals held on 20 February 2011.
Auckland Māori performing arts group Te Waka Huia were the supreme award winners at the last festival in 2009 - winning the event for the fourth time.
The 2009 Te Matatini event was held at Bay Park in Tauranga - in the Bay of Plenty region - and attracted 36 teams.
More than 40,000 people attended the festival, the largest crowd seen at an event within Māoridom since Māori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu’s tangi / funeral in 2006.
2011 Te Matatini draw
Te Matatini Society, the national organisation for Māori performing arts, recently announced the draw for the 2011 festival to be held at Wai o Hika Estate, six kilometres west of Gisborne.
The estate has a natural amphitheatre and is the venue for the annual Rhythm and Vines concert held between Christmas and New Year. The area is the first place in the world to see the sunrise, making it a popular setting to witness the dawn of a new year.
The 2011 Te Matatini festival will be held in association with Tairawhiti rohe / tribal territory which last hosted a national senior Māori performing arts festival 32 years ago and has a long history of performance and presentation in both formal and informal kapa haka.
Background: Te Matatini
Te Matatini National Festival is held every two years and brings together elite kapa haka performers selected from a number of regional trials.
The event is regarded as the ‘premier Māori cultural performing arts festival’ on the New Zealand calendar.
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.
Hundreds of teams throughout New Zealand and Australia compete in regional competitions for the honour of selection to represent their clubs at the national finals.
The festival is not simply for Māori - it is open to all people, regardless of culture, background, or age to come together, to share and celebrate.
While the main focus of the festival is the kapa haka competition, it is also a celebration of Māori culture and cuisine. Festivals generally feature a range of retail stalls, food stalls, art and craft exhibitions, education workshops, and other entertainment activities.
The first day of the festival involves a powhiri / welcome by the tangata whenua / host people where all kapa haka performers, supporters, dignitaries and visitors are welcomed to the host region and the national festival. The powhiri is carried out according to the customs and protocols of the host people.
Kapa Haka - the Māori performing arts story
Kapa Haka - traditional Māori performances
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