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Te Matatini festival starts in Auckland

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Close to 6000 kapa haka performers have descended on Auckland for the prestigious Te Matatini festival.

It is the first time the kapa haka festival has gone ahead since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The four-day competition will feature 45 kapa haka groups from around New Zealand.

The Te Matatini festival was established in 1972, initially as the New Zealand Polynesian Cultural Festival. It was first hosted in Rotorua and the competition was won by Waihīrere Māori Club. After growing quickly, the festival was renamed in 1983, becoming the Aotearoa Traditional Māori Performing Arts Festival.

It remained that until 2004, when the festival was again renamed to Te Matatini (the many faces).

What do the performances involve?

The first thing to know is the performances are called a ‘bracket.’

Each bracket is made up of several components, including things like whakaeke (entrance), waiata-a-ringa (hand action song), poi and haka.

Each team gets 25 minutes for the first five items, and if you do a waiata tira then you get 30 minutes to complete your bracket.

Rōpū (groups) are able to go under the time limit, but points will be deducted if they exceed it.

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