The Festival started in 1972 and is now the world’s largest celebration of Māori traditional performing arts, attracting over 30,000 performers, supporters and visitors. Over four days audiences experience the best Māori performing arts in the world, from the harmonies of dynamic group singing to the graceful movements of women performing the poi and the ferocity of the male haka.
The Festival is a whānau friendly, smoke, alcohol and drug free event. It is an opportunity for all people, regardless of culture, background or age to come together, to share and celebrate.
While the main focus is Kapa Haka , the Festival also celebrates Māori culture and cuisine. Visitors can enjoy a range of retail and food stalls, art and craft exhibitions and other entertainment activities.
The next festival will be held 4 - 8 March 2015, hosted by the Waitaha rohe at Hagley Park (North), Christchurch, New Zealand
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 hosts.
Te Waka Huia won the coveted title of Toa Whakaihuwaka, and overall winner of the Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival 2013, held at the Rotorua International Stadium.
As the current champions, Te Waka Huia will represent Te Matatini Society and New Zealand at various local and international events – in July 2013 they performed at the opening of the America’s Cup in San Francisco.
Group Leaders: Tāpeta and Annette Wehi
Rohe: Tāmaki Makaurau
Kaitataki Tane: Tāpeta Wehi
Kaitataki Wahine: Pimia Wehi
Ko ngā whāinga o Te Waka Huia
Kia koke whakamua, kia eke ki te tāpuhipuhi o ngā mahi-ā-Rehia
Donor: Duncan Mclntyre, Minister of Māori Affairs 1979-73, 1976-79
Rt Hon Duncan Mclntyre 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 has been donated to promote rangatahi in their pursuit of excellence in Te Reo Māori and its traditions.
Donor: Te Whānau o Waipareira
This trophy is modeled on Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust’s logo, 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.
Donor: 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 near Feilding. There are two hands holding the sides of the receptacle representing Tāne fashioning Hine Ahuone from Papatūanuku (Mother Earth).
Donor: Ngāti Poneke Young Māori Club through Minister of Māori Affairs, Rt Hon Duncan Mclntyre
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.
Donor: 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 raupo 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.
Donor: 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.
Donor: Wi and Ybel Huata whānau
This trophy was presented in recognition of Canon Wi and Ybel 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.
Donor: 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 the language as the key to cultural growth.
Donor: Waipara whānau of Rongowhakaata
The 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 recently updated the taonga and presented this at the 2013 Te Matatini - Rotorua festival.
Donor: Dr Bruce Gregory, MP, Northern Māori 1980-1993
This 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.
Sponsored by Te Waka Toi
In 2011 a new korowai for Kaitātaki Wahine was presented at Te Matatini o Te Ra - 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.
Donor: 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.
Donor: 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.
Every two years, Te Matatini Festival is held in a different rohe (region) around New Zealand. The local rohe committee and iwi come together to host the festival and to welcome performers and audiences to their area.
The task of hosting a festival is tremendous. From holding a formal pōwhiri (welcome) to providing manaaki (care) to over 1,500 competitors, 1,000 workers and tens of thousands of spectators for four days of competition and entertainment. The hosting workforce involves hundreds of volunteers. They ensure Kapa Haka and guests have a safe and enjoyable festival and experience the best the rohe has to offer.
Hosts of the last three Te Matatini festivals include:
2013 - Te Arawa rohe at Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua
2011 - Te Tairāwhiti rohe (hosted Te Matatini o Te Rā) at Waiohika Estate, Gisborne
2009 - Mātaatua rohe at Baypark Stadium, Tauranga
The next festival will be hosted by Waitaha rohe at Hagley Park (North), Christchurch, 4-8 March 2015.
2017 - Ngāti Kahungunu
2019 - Te Whanganui-ā-Tara
2021 - Tāmaki Makaurau
2023 - Aotea
2025 - Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Maui
2027 - Tainui
2029 - Te Taitokerau
2031 - Rangitāne
2033 - Mātaatua
2035 - Te Tairāwhiti
2037 - Te Arawa
2039 - Waitaha