As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival 2021 was postponed in July 2020 and moved out 1 year to February 2022. Five rohe were also unable to host their 2020 Regional qualifying competitions due to COVID-19. As a result, Te Matatini took the opportunity to create a new initiative – the Rohe Whakangahau, to ensure whānau were able to keep connected through Kapa Haka once the decision was made to delay the festival till the following year. Te Matatini was successful in obtaining funding to support this initiative to connect, enjoy and showcase kapa haka during this time.
There is strong evidence to show that Kapa Haka contributes to positive health and wellbeing and for this reason, Te Matatini wanted to ensure that whānau were supported at a rohe level to continue to celebrate and enjoy Kapa Haka during those times of uncertainty.
Ten rohe whakangahau events have taken place over the past 9 months with 2 events remaining – Te Whanganui a Tara and Tāmaki Makaurau. Since this most recent lockdown, both remaining rohe have postponed their whakangahau events as of Wednesday 18 August, and new dates will be confirmed once these events can go ahead.
Over 6,000 kaihaka, of all ages, ranging from our pēpi and tamariki right through to our kuia and kaumātua, have participated in the Rohe Whakangahau. Each event has featured the Kapa Haka that have qualified for Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata Festival 2022. Each event has also been live streamed and made available on-demand via Māori Television and their website for audiences in both Aotearoa and Australia.