More than 15,000 people are expected to tolerate sweltering conditions for the final day of Te Matatini 2013 kapa haka championships in Rotorua tomorrow.
With the mercury hovering at temperatures of around 30 deg C, strong crowds have been recorded at the four-day festival, which began on Thursday with pool competition and finishes tomorrow (Sunday 24 February) with nine finalists competing for the national title.
The Executive Director of Te Matatini Society, Darrin Apanui, said turnout for the national kapa haka championships, at the Rotorua International Stadium, had been extremely strong, with around 15,000 people watching the performances today.
“We expected a good showing not only from kapa haka enthusiasts around Aotearoa, but also Australia and further afield. Online ticket sales were excellent in the weeks leading up to the festival and casual day sales have been around a couple of thousand each day, so we’re very happy with the response,” he said.
The performances this year have been extremely competitive, with the local iwi Te Arawa fielding six teams. Mr Apanui said he expected the crowds to swell even more if the locally based teams made it to tomorrow’s final.
“I would expect that a lot of Rotorua people will turn out to support their local teams on the day if any of them make it to the final,” Mr Apanui said.
Te Matatini is responsible for fostering, developing and protecting traditional Māori performing arts throughout Aotearoa. The organisation this year celebrates its 40th year hosting the biennial competition.
Te Matatini is able to promote kapa haka through sponsorship from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Te Puni Kokiri. Major sponsors for the festival include Waikato University, New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, New Zealand Post, Kiwibank and Te Wananga o Aotearoa.