Te Matatini 2015 Pōwhiri
After nearly two years of planning, Te Matatini 2015 is underway in North Hagley Park, Christchurch.
Around 5, 000 people were present for the Wednesday pōwhiri, which signalled the beginning of the 4-day kapa haka festival. Manuhiri (guests), were led into the park by the Ratana band, before pounamu was presented to representatives from the 11 visiting regions taking part in this year’s festival.
A haka, written especially for the event, was performed by more than 300 local performers and provided a rousing start to the event.
The pōwhiri was being attended by Ngāi Tahu elders and dignitaries, including Maori Affairs Minister Te Ururora Flavell.
Te Matatini 2015 is a celebration of Maori culture and performance and around 1,800 performers from throughout New Zealand and Australia have been practising for many months.
Te Matatini competition– the largest celebration of traditional Māori performing arts – starts on the Hagley Park stage on Thursday morning and is expected to attract a crowd of over 30,000 people for its four-day duration. The festival is hosted by the Waitaha Cultural Council and is supported by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Christchurch City Council.
See our gallery of photos from today’s pōwhiri below. Click on a photo to enlarge and start the slideshow.