Te Matatini Festival 


Every two years, elite Kapa Haka performers from New Zealand and Australia compete for the honour of being crowned the "best of the best", at Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival.

The Festival started in 1972 and is now the world’s largest celebration of Māori traditional performing arts, attracting over 30,000 participants and visitors.

The Festival is a whanau friendly, smoke, alcohol and drug free event.  It is an opportunity for all people, regardless of culture, background and age, to come together and celebrate Maori culture and talent.

Over four days, audiences experience the best Māori performing arts in the world from the harmonies of group singing to the elegant movements of the women performing the poi and the ferocity of the male haka.

Alongside the fierce competition, audiences can also visit the Te Matatini Shopping Village.  Here you can browse and buy unique Māori arts and crafts, taste indigenous Māori cuisine, or participate in cultural workshops and exhibitions.


THE COMPETITION

Day 1 - Powhiri by the Tangata Whenua

  • All Kapa Haka performers, supporters, dignitaries and visitors are welcomed by the local hosts. 

Days 2, 3 and 4 – Competition Preliminaries

  • Kapa Haka teams are required to perform six disciplines within their performance piece - whakaeke (a choreographed entry), moteatea (traditional chant), poi (light ball swung on the end of a flax cord), waiata-ā-ringa (action song), haka and whakawatea (exit).  They must perfect every discipline in a polished 25-minute performance. 

  • Each performance is judged against set criteria, by expert judges, appointed from around New Zealand.
  • Taonga (trophies) are awarded to the team with the highest score in the six compulsory (aggregate) disciplines.  Further taonga are awarded across non compulsory (non-aggregate) categories such as Manukura Wahine (Best Female Leader), Manukura Tane (Best Male Leader) and Kakahu (Costume).
  • The top three teams with the highest combined marks in their competition pool will compete in the Competition Finals. 

Day 5 – The Finals

  • The finalists are judged anew to determine third, second and the new Toa Whakaihuwaka: overall winner of the competition.

Prize Giving

  • Taonga (trophies) are awarded to the team with the highest score from the Competition Preliminaries in the six compulsory (aggregate) disciplines.  Further taonga are awarded across non compulsory (non-aggregate) categories such as Manukura Wahine (Best Female Leader), Manukura Tane (Best Male Leader) and Kakahu (Costume).

  • The Toa Whakaihuwaha (overall winner) second and third place taonga are awarded to the teams with the highest scores from the Finals Day.

 


FUTURE FESTIVAL HOSTS

The Festival is hosted in a different rohe every two years.

  • 2015 Waitaha
  • 2017 Kahungunu
  • 2019 Te Whanganui a Tara
  • 2021 Tamaki Makaurau
  • 2023 Aotea
  • 2025 Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Maui
  • 2027 Tainui
  • 2029 Te Taitokerau
  • 2031 Rangitāne
  • 2033 Mataatua
  • 2035 Te Tairawhiti
  • 2037 Te Arawa
  • 2039 Waitaha