Te Matatini is a significant cultural festival and the pinnacle event for Māori performing arts. Held every two years, it is one of the most highly anticipated events for perfomers, their whānau and the mass of passionate Kapa Haka fans throughout the world.
The festival prides itself on being whānau friendly, smoke, and alcohol free event. It has an open door policy, where all people are welcome to come and experience the timeless tradition and spectacle of Kapa Haka.
All I can say is that on the basis of what I experience at Te Matatini the world is missing out on one of the truly great musical experiences. The passion, the intensity, the sweet harmonies, the ferocity of the haka, the creativity of the groups and the sheer dedication of the performers make this an experience that lives in both the memories and the heart for the rest of your life.– Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald (Te Matatini Festival 2007)
Hosted in a different city each time, the festival draws thousands of people who come to witness the best of the best. For many, it is a chance to not only experience Kapa Haka excellence, but to also reconnect with friends and family and express their loyalty and pride in their whānau on the stage.
For the Kapa Haka, the festival is the culmination of years of hard work, passionate commitment and unswerving dedication to bring their best to the national stage. Thousands of hours would have been spent in composing, teaching, rehearsing and organising forty performers. First to qualify at their regional competition, then to prepare a single performance compressed into thirty minutes for the national stage. All with the intent to captivate, beguile and impress judges and audiences enough to progress to the final competition day and win the supreme title of Toa Whakaihuwaka.