Te Matatini 2015 – More than performance

Rain arrived for the morning of the second day of competition at Te Matatini 2015 but no one seemed to mind. Committed kapa haka fans still poured through the gates as soon as they were open and by the time Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga took to the stage as the first competitors of the day, it was clear everyone was oblivious to the weather.

Kapa haka is more than just performance. It’s a unique part of Māori identity and fans, whānau and supporters, huddled under umbrellas, coats and ponchos, were never going to be deterred by a downpour. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu gave away 10,000 free white plastic ponchos and the audience arena turned into a sea of white – and the waiata, the poi, the haka, the te reo all kept coming. It was in those wet, uncomfortable moments – just as in the baking hot sun – that an almost palpable feeling of wairua (spirit) is somehow strengthened.

Now half way through, Te Matatini competition continues tomorrow (Saturday) with pool three teams hitting the stage. The competition (between 45 teams) has been split into three pools: Te Ihu, Te Haumi and Te Kei. The three teams with the highest combined marks from each pool will compete in the competition finals on Sunday. Then, the nine finalists will be judged afresh on compulsory aggregate items to determine Te Toa Whakaihuwaka – the overall aggregate winner.

It’s been an incredible display thus far and you can check out our photos from day three below. Click on the first image to enlarge and start the slide show.