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Record Number of Kapa Haka Groups in Rotorua

A record number of kapa haka groups competing in Rotorua this weekend at the Te Arawa Kapa Haka Regional Festival augurs well for the development of the Māori performing arts, according to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Responsible for government policy and funding advice to ‘make culture visible and accessible’ the Ministry for Culture and Heritage provides annual funding of $1.2m to Te Matatini to develop kapa haka and the Māori performing arts at a regional and national level.

This year 17 local groups – the highest number on record - will vie for final placing to go to Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival in Gisborne in 2011.  The national event is regarded as the world’s largest celebration of Māori performing arts, and attracts upwards of 30,000 participants and visitors. 

Speaking at the Te Arawa Festival today, Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manager Māori  Engagement, Rangi McGarvey said supporting the regional competitions was an investment in building the calibre of the Māori  performing arts from the ground up, “spanning a range of roles including kapa haka composers, tutors, performers, judges, administrators, national and regional committees, teachers, whanau and iwi,”.

He said Te Matatini embodied key government priorities i.e. New Zealanders experiencing a stronger sense of identity and well-being; communities functioning effectively; and a stronger economy.

“At one end of the continuum Te Matatini brings communities together through regional competitions at which a record number of groups are appearing, and at the other end it showcases excellence on the international stage as occurred when Te Waka Huia performed at the opening of the 2009 Venice Biennial in Venice.”

Citing 2008 Ministry research, Mr McGarvey said more people (62%) strongly agreed that Māori  culture and activities were an important part of the country’s national identity.  Results also showed a dramatic rise in the number and percentage of people employed in the cultural sector and a strong demand for cultural tourism products by international visitors.

As well as a policy and funding role, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage produces works on New Zealand history and its cultural experiences in print and online; promotes the country’s cultural presence internationally; administers heritage legislation such as the Protected Objects Act and maintains a monitoring role across the arts, broadcasting, heritage and sports agencies.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage congratulated winners of the Tainui Regional Kapa Haka Festival held in Hamilton on 14 February 2010: 1st Te Iti Kahurangi;
2nd Te Pou o Mangataawhiri; 3rd Ngaa Pou o Roto; and finalists of the Mataatua Regional Kapa Haka Festival held in Torere on 20 February 2010: 1st Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau a Apanui; 2nd Ruatāhuna Kākahu Maukū; 3rd Ōpōtiki-Mai-Tawhiti; and 4th Tauiramaitawhiti.

Updated on 23rd July 2015