Te Matatini Festival — What its all about

Te-Matatini-Logo

Previously known as "The Polynesian Festival" .. in 2004, the name Te Matatini was given to the event by Professor; James Te Wharehuia Milroyan expert in Maori language, tikanga and Māoridom,

Te Mata meaning "the face"

tini denoting "many" —translating the meaning of Te Matatini to "the many faces".

 Kapa Haka is a form of Māori identity and contributes to New Zealand being unique. Te Matatini is the nationwide Maori performing arts festival and competition for Kapa Haka performers from all of Aotearoa.

While its a time to celebrate its beauty and core values. Te Matatini is seen as playing a very important role within Māoridom in promoting the tikanga of the Maori culture and Kapa Haka.

                      • Ma : To be pure - O : the energy of purity - Ri : connected
                      • What it means to be Maori  (as a collective culture) is to be "Pure Energy Connected"

'Whakahokia te reo mai i te mata o te pene, ki te mata o te arero'

(Bring the language back from the tip of the pen to the tip of the tongue)

Professor Wharehuia Milroy

Preparing for Te Matatini

Whether youre deciding to attend or choosing to participate in the event; there are many ways to get involved and support Te Matatini. Preparing for the event can take weeks, months and some cases -years to produce the 5-Day Festival.

If your looking to join a roopu, visit a marae you affiliate with (or a local marae) and enquire about joining the kapa haka group. Kaimahi wanting to participate behind the scenes (Staff, volunteer, Food/Merch stall, Event production, etc..) visit www.TeMatatini.co.nz and fill out the stallholder application.

For the ones who just want to attend, you can purchase tickets closer to the event date, tune-in from home on Whakaata Maori (Chanel 5, Maori TV) or download the TVNZ+ App. Wear your best Maori cultural outfit, bring your water bottle, potae, sunscreen and enjoy the performances with kai.

When competing in the event, there are rules, diciplines and guidelines each group must be aware of to avoid deductions. Have a scroll through Te Nga ture o Te Whakataetae A-Motu and become familiar with the judging process.

Schedule of Events

Ra (Day) Event
Ra Tahi Powhiri held by Tangata whenua (hosting region), Opening karakia
Ra RuaPool Rounds (competition)Competition begins...
Ra ToruPool Rounds (competition)
Ra whaPool Rounds (competition)x12 finalist announced
Ra rimaFinal RoundWinner Announced, Closing Karakia

He Taonga (trophy)

Awarded to the winner of the Finals Day competition
Winning Trophy

Taonga donated by: Duncan Maclntyre, Minister of Māori Affairs 1969-72, 1975-78Rt Hon Duncan Maclntyre was the Minister of Māori Affairs during the first festival in 1972. At that time, there was a resurgence and revival of Māori language traditions, especially among rangatahi. The trophy was donated to promote the pursuit of excellence by rangatahi in Te Reo Māori and its traditions.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau a Apanui.

Awarded to the winner of 'Whakaeke' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Te Whānau o Waipareira. Designed by Mei Collins, the design is based on the trust's motto – "Kōkiri i roto i te kotahitanga" – "progressively act in unity" – a motto created by several kaumātua. The taonga and its design reflects the unrelenting power and force of the tides; the three baskets of knowledge, productivity and a new lease of life. It was first presented at the 1994 festival in Hāwera and is modelled on Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust's logo.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Tauira Mai Tawhiti, 

    Te Pikikōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai, 

    Ngāti Rangiwewehi and

    Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti

Awarded to the winner of 'Mōteatea' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki. Carved by Moni Taumaunu (Ngāti Porou) and Bill Mau (Ngāpuhi), this trophy was made from an eight foot strainer post found on the slopes of Mangatu. Its base is made out of a piece of timber from Hato Paora College. There are two hands holding the sides of the receptacle representing Tāne fashioning Hine Ahuone from Papatūanuku (Mother Earth).

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti, 

Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau a Apanui

Awarded to the winner of 'Waiata-ā-Ringa' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Ngāti Poneke Young Māori Club through Minister of Māori Affairs, Rt Hon Duncan McIntyre. This trophy was donated in 1972 by Ngāti Poneke who were at the forefront of Māori Performing Arts especially in this category. The group had won the Wellington and Ikaroa district competitions and performed at festivals in Tauranga, Ngāruawahia and the Hui Aranga. Ngāti Poneke has the distinction of being the trophy's first winner.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue

Awarded to the winner of 'Poi' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Aotea District Māori Council. When the 1972 Polynesian Festival Competition was first mooted, it was acknowledged by the National Committee, that Taranaki were the exponents of the poi in its traditional forms – poi harakeke, poi raupō and poi atua etc. These and other forms of poi were performed at tangi. It was further noted that Tohu Kakahi, the Parihaka chief, adopted the poi as his symbol of peace and goodwill. This was done at the same time that Te Whiti o Rongomai adopted the white feather. Aotea was given the opportunity to donate a trophy in 1972, by the Aotea council on behalf of the Aotea district. 

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao Kapahaka, 

ANGITU, 

Te Pou o Mangataawhiri, 

Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau a Apanui

Awarded to the winner of 'Haka' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Timua Crofts. This trophy was presented to the then Polynesian National Committee on behalf of the Waitaha Cultural Council. When it was designed in the form of Mt Aoraki there were two main themes in Timua Croft's mind – 'Te Reo o Aoraki' and 'te ngākau aroha'. Both these elements have significance for Ngāi Tahu. At the time, Ngāi Tahu dialect and reo among its own members was not regarded as strong and vibrant, compared to other tribal groups. Te reo o Aoraki in the form of the tupuna maunga, Aoraki, was seen as the pinnacle to which Ngāi Tahu should aspire. 'Te ngākau aroha' on the other hand, represents Ngāi Tahu maintaining and retaining their Māori heart and values of aroha and manaakitanga. The saying "te ngākau aroha" was devised by Te Aritaua Pitama and was adopted as the motto for the then active Kapa Haka, Te Whetū Ariki o Kahukura.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Te Taha Tū, 

Ngā Tumanako

Awarded to the winner of 'Whakawātea' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Wi and Abel Huata whānauThis trophy was presented in recognition of Canon Wi and Abel Huata's great contribution to composing, tutoring and writing music, and their leadership of numerous Kapa Haka. It recognises their environment with He Toa Takitini – a Kapa Haka which performed at the festival in 1972 – and from which many people went on to form, or lead others.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Tauira Mai Tawhiti, 

Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue, 

Te Pou o Mangataawhiri, 

Te Iti Kahurangi, 

Te Mātārae I Ōrehu

Awarded to the winner of 'Te Kairangi o Te Reo' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Mobil Oil New Zealand Ltd. This trophy represents Mobil Oil's commitment to supporting and fostering the arts in general and Māori art and language in particular. Mobil seeks to recognise those involved in ensuring a new generation of Māori achieve fluency in te reo and regards the resurgence of interest in te reo.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue

Awarded to the winner of 'Waiata Tira' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: National Māori Choir. Presented in Rotorua in 1996, the original trophy included white glass pieces with kōwhaiwhai which represented the opera 'Ka Awatea' performed by the donor group. The red glass background represents the throat from which the greenstone originated, and the essence symbolises the quality sound that comes from trained voices. The music symbol on the greenstone is the official logo of the National Māori Choir

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Hātea Kapa Haka, 

Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao Kapahaka, 

Te Reanga Morehu o Ratana

Awarded to the winner of 'Manukura Tane' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Dr Bruce Gregory, MP, Northern Māori 1980-1993This trophy was presented by Dr. Gregory as a gift from the heart and was intended for Māori who devote enormous time to Kapa Haka. The trophy is his contribution to the traditional Māori performing arts and the pursuit of excellence.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Te Waka Huia – Jamus Webster, 

Te Rangiura o Wairarapa – Te Korou, 

Te Taha Tū – Hemi Tai Tin

Awarded to the winner of 'Manukura Wahine' from the Pool Competition

Sponsored by: Te Waka ToiIn 2011 a new korowai for Manukura Wahine was presented at Te Matatini o te Rā – Tairāwhiti festival. Made by Teresa Murray at Te Puia, Rotorua, and kindly sponsored by Te Waka Toi, the korowai is a poutama pattern constructed from muka and pūkeko feathers.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue – Te Ngāwari Wright

Awarded to the winner of 'Manukura Wahine' from the Pool Competition

The koru is a symbol of new life and new beginnings. The young fern enjoys the protection of the stronger, mature fern until it is eventually able to stand alone. Atareta gave her life in support of others. This pounamu pictures her hand, stretched out in a gesture of love and assistance to those many people she shared her wealth of knowledge with over the years. The little koru snuggled safely in the palm of the hand represents the ones she has nurtured and helped grow into fine performers and capable adults.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue – Te Ngāwari Wright

Awarded to the winner of 'Kākahu' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Waipara whānau of RongowhakaataThe original trophy for Kākahu was presented at the 1996 Rotorua Festival in honour of the late Wairākau Waipara QSM who excelled in designing costumes, kete, kākahu, piupiu and whāriki. The Waipara whānau replaced the taonga for presentation at the 2017 Te Kahu o Te Amorangi Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival, with this manaia based on the Rongowhakaata form.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Tauira Mai Tawhiti, 

Te Iti Kahurangi

Awarded to the winner of 'Titonga Hou Poi' from the Pool Competition

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti, 

Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau a Apanui

Awarded to the winner of 'Titonga Hou Haka' from the Pool Competition

 CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue

Awarded to the winner of 'Titonga Waiata-ā-Ringa' from the Pool Competition

 CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue

Awarded to the winner of 'Titonga Hou Mōteatea' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Te Arawa Whānui

Sponsored by: The New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute (NZMACI) / Te Puia Ltd Donated in honour of the late Mauriora Kingi, MNZM, JP, senior spokesman in Te Arawa. This taonga was presented in recognition of his immense contribution to cultural revitalisation within Te Arawa and longest serving judge in Te Matatini and Secondary Schools kapa haka festivals in his lifetime. NZMACI 2017 Graduate Carver Tukiri Tini of Te Arawa, Tainui and Ngāi Tahu, named the toki poutangata 'Te Rangitūhāhā' in salutation to one of the finest orators in the history of Te Arawa, it was also Mauriora's birth name.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023: Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue

Awarded to the winner of 'Titonga Waiata Hou' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donated by: Ihaka whānau Among all his other achievements, Sir Kingi Ihaka was the inaugural chairperson of the New Zealand Polynesian, and the then Aotearoa Traditional Māori Performing Arts Festival National Committee. It was a position he held from 1972 – 1993, except for a period of two years when he resided in Sydney, Australia. Tā Kingi was a composer, writer of music, tutor and leader of such Kapa Haka as the Wairarapa Anglican, Putiki Wharanui, (Whanganui), Wellington Anglican and Auckland Anglican groups. He was also the second Māori Language Commissioner.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023 :  Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue, 

Waihīrere

Awarded to the winner of 'Te Kairangi o Te Reo ā Tuhi' from the Pool Competition

Taonga donoted by: Poutini Kāi Tahu – Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, Te Rūnanga o MakaawhioTe Tai-pūkarukaru o Poutini – The gentle rippling waves of the Poutini Coast. The tides of Poutini take many forms – from wild, crashing westerly blown surf to the ocean nutrient rich currents sustaining a fertile fishery. But there is one tide that, on the calmest of days, simply laps the shores. These are the seas that create a soothing atmosphere. The sounds are pleasant to the ear and they remind one of home places, of lost friends and lovers, and of the natural beauty that is the Poutini Coast. A beautiful composition should evoke a full range of emotions. The flow of words should be gentle and not harsh. The language should be able to paint pictures and connect with the listening soul of the audience. Just as the tides do, it should remind one of home, friends and lovers. Personal experiences and complex emotions should be roused by a great composition within every individual who hears the poetry. The hapū of Poutini are honoured to celebrate these written compositions and the stories they tell. The trophy, presented by Poutini Kāi Tahu in 2017 was named by Tahu Pōtiki and designed and carved by Poutini artisans, Fayne Robinson and Turi Gibb using the finest pounamu to bring to life the Poutini tides. We hope that the taoka itself and any visit to the pounamu rich coastlines of Poutini will bring with it its own personal journey of the soul and the spirit.

CURRENT HOLDERS – 2023:   Te Kapa Haka o Ngā Pua o Te Kōwhara, 

Te Iti Kahurangi

Nga Toa Whakaihuwaka o Mua - Past championships;

Tau Hosting (Rohe) Roopu (Rohe)
1972 Te Arawa (Rotorua) Waihirere Maori Club (Te Tairawhiti)
1973Te Arawa (Rotorua)Mawai Hakona (Te Whanganui-A-Tara)
1975Te Tai Tokerau (Whangarei)Te Roopu Manutaki (Tamaki Makaurau)
1977Te Tairawhiti (Gisborne)Te Kotahitanga o Waitaha (Waitaha)
1979Te Whanganui-A-Tara (Wellington)Waihirere Maori Club (Te Tairawhiti)
1981Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland)Taniwharau (Tainui)
1983Ngati Kahungunu (Hastings)Ngati Rangiwewehi (Te Arawa)
1985"Postponed"-
1986Waitaha (Christchurch)Te Waka Huia (Tamaki Makaurau)
1988Te Tai Tokerau (Whangarei)Waihirere Maori Club (Te Tairawhiti)
1990Te Tai Tokerau (Waitangi)Te Roopu Manutaki (Tamaki Makaurau)
1992Tainui (Ngaruawahia)Te Waka Huia (Tamaki Makaurau)
1994Aotea (Hawera)Te Waka Huia (Tamaki Makaurau)
1996Te Arawa (Rotorua)Ngati Rangiwewehi (Te Arawa)
1998Te Whanganui-A-Tara (Trentham)Waihirere Maori Club (Te Tairawhiti)
2000Tainui (Ngaruawahia)Te Matarae I Orehu (Te Arawa)
2002Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland)Waihirere Maori Club (Te Tairawhiti)
2004"Postponed"-
2005Rangitane (Palmerston North)Te Kapa Haka o Te Whanau-A-Apanui (Mataatua)
2007Rangitane (Palmerston North)Whangara Mai Tawhiti (Te Tairawhiti)
2009Mataatua (Tauranga Moana)Te Waka Huia (Tamaki Makaurau)
2011Te Tairawhiti (Waiohika)Te Matarae I Orehu (Te Arawa)
2013Te Arawa (Rotorua)Te Waka Huia (Tamaki Makaurau)
2015Waitaha (Christchurch)Te Kapa Haka o Te Whanau-A-Apanui (Mataatua)
2017Ngati Kahungunu (Hastings)Whangara Mai Tawhiti (Te Tairawhiti)
2019Te Whanganui-A-Tara (Wellington)Nga Tumanako (Tamaki Makaurau)
2021"Postponed due to covid-19"-
2022Celebrating 50 YEARS of Te MatatiniListen-in

Ngā Toa Whakaihuwaka o Te Matatini Herenga Waka, Herenga Tangata 2023 ...

2nd Equal:       Whangara Mai Tawhiti (Te Tairawhiti)

                       : Te Kapa Haka o Ngati Whakaue (


1st Place:         Te Kapa Haka o Te Whanau-A-Apanui (Mataatua)

Looking ahead at our hosts for Te Matatini 2025 - 2040

At the end of each festival, a formal ceremony is held for the current Host Committee to pass the Te Matatini mauri to the next festival host.

In the beginning; Mana (authority) was given to different iwi (rohe) to host by its previous holder; For example, in 2017 the mana was given to Te Whanganui-A-Tara to host 2019 on behalf of Ngati Kahungunu (Heretaunga) region although Tamaki Makaurau region had won.

As Te Matatini Society Incorporated looks ahead at the coming years, their new approach to the passing of the mana, has given us an insight to the pre-settlement arrangements across Aotearoa. 

If you missed the previous years and want get involved, take a look at our future hosts for Te Matatini 2025 - 2041 and plan ahead! We hope to see you there.


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Comments 1

TauraRyan on Tuesday, 18 April 2023 13:46

Thank you for this very informative article on this prestigious event.Most appreciated.I look forward to the day when me and whanau can attend.Nga mihi kia koutou.

Thank you for this very informative article on this prestigious event.Most appreciated.I look forward to the day when me and whanau can attend.Nga mihi kia koutou.
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