Te Matarae i Orehu, the winners of the 2011 Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Championships from Te Arawa, have made the top nine for the finals of this year’s competition but will have to beat off a strong showing from the East Coast and Bay of Plenty if they are to repeat their success, says Te Matatini Society.
The finals draw was made last night (Saturday 23 February) in front of a 15,000-strong crowd at the 2013 Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Championships at the Rotorua International Stadium. A similar number of people are expected to attend today’s finals.
The finals line up is made up of teams mainly from around the central North Island, East Coast and Bay of Plenty, but it includes a strong performer from Tamaki Makauru (Auckland) – Te Waka Huia, which has made every final since first appearing on stage in 1986.
Also competing today are Waihirere, Te Te Manawa Maurea and Wangara Mai Tawhiti, all from Tairawhiti (East Coast); Te Whanau a Apanui and Opotiki Mai Tawhiti from Mataatua (Bay of Plenty); and Te Pou a Mangataawhiri and Te Iti Kahurangi from Tainui (Waikato).
The Executive Director of Te Matatini Society, Darrin Apanui, said that while all of the performances over the last three days were excellent, the strength of kapa haka on the East Coast, Bay of Plenty and central North Island is shown in the line-up.
“We anticipate that Rotorua people will all turn out to support their Te Arawa team, but given the strength of the performances so far, the national title is far from certain,” Mr Apanui said.