Winning Performance: Rotorua-based kapa haka group Te Mātārae i Orehu are the 2011 Te Matatini national champions. Photo: Paul Rickard.
The Te Matatini International Māori Performing Arts Festival - New Zealand’s national kapa haka competition - came to a thrilling end over the weekend, with Rotorua-based kapa haka group Te Mātārae i Orehu taking the top honours.
Despite the rain, an estimated 30,000 people attended the four-day event, held at the Waiohika Estate in Gisborne on February 17-20. A strategic partner of Te Matatini for the past two years, the University of Waikato had a number of students, staff and alumni taking part as performers, tutors or judges.
Waikato University’s Māori Student Recruitment Adviser Carey Collier was part of Te Kaha kapa haka group Te Whānau-a-Apanui, who came third overall. Auckland-based kapa haka group Te Waka Huia placed second.
The biennial competition, which dates back to 1972, had 42 teams from 13 regions across New Zealand and Australia competing in what is regarded as a dynamic display of Māoridom at its finest.
Te Matatini Executive Director Darrin Apanui acknowledged the University’s commitment as a strategic partner, and saw commonalities between the pursuit of academic and kapa haka excellence.
“We believe in the excellence of kapa haka; Waikato believe in the excellence of education – the two are synonymous, and we believe that this will be a strong and prosperous relationship in the future.”
Waikato University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford and Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith were among the special guest invited to attended Te Matatini. Rotorua will host the next Te Matatini International Māori Performing Arts Festival in 2013.
See more of Darrin Apanui's interview (below) as he talks about the benefits that Te Matatini and Waikato University bring to each other.