Te Matatini 2015 – Preparations in full swing

Preparations for Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival 4-8 March 2015 at North Hagley Park are in full-swing.

The Waitaha Cultural Council is hosting this pre-eminent event, supported by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Christchurch City Council. Te Matatini is producing and organising the festival.

Waitaha Cultural Council is thrilled to announce two major milestones achieved ahead of the upcoming event: volunteer numbers have been reached and all performing teams have been accommodated.

Chairperson Ranui Ngarimu says each of the 45 performing teams and their support crew have confirmed accommodation in homes, hotels, marae and billets throughout Christchurch.

“It hasn’t been easy accommodating large groups of performers altogether in a city that is rebuilding but we’ve done it. Now we are keenly looking forward to their arrival.”

The number of volunteer kaimahi required to run a successful festival has also been reached and registrations have officially closed. “Local volunteers will be trained prior to the festival, to fulfil their role in supporting the event, preparing kai, setting up the venue and assisting with the logistics related to the stage and performers, “ Ranui says.

In addition to the performers and volunteers, a 1,300 strong workforce will be setting up the massive festival infrastructure. Surrounding the kapa haka stage will be a vibrant festival featuring, arts, crafts, entertainment and activities. There will be workshops and demonstrations of traditional and contemporary arts including carving, weaving, kōhatu mauri and graffiti art and plenty of activities for tamariki. For those wanting to enjoy an English translation and commentary of all the stage performances, Hakarongo mai will be translating for all festival goers.

With thousands of visitors descending on the city, it is expected Te Matatini 2015 will generate around $6m for the Canterbury region.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the event will be a unique opportunity for locals to experience the Te Matatini Festival. She encourages anyone who is curious come along. “It’s going to be spectacular. This festival will be unlike anything Christchurch has ever seen before and everybody will be welcome. It doesn’t matter what culture, background or age you are – there will be something for everyone. Prepare to be amazed Christchurch!”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tā Mark Solomon says the theme of the festival – He Ngākau Aroha – has been chosen by the host as a way the city can say thank you and reciprocate the manaaki and whanaungatanga shown all around the country following the earthquakes. “Ōtautahi: let’s come together again and experience kapa haka and Māori culture at its’ finest.”

Started in 1972, Te Matatini is a world-class biennial cultural festival. Te Matatini 2015 will be just the second time the festival has been held in Te Waipounamu, the South Island. The last time Te Matatini was held down here was in 1986 at the now demolished QE11 stadium. The South is not scheduled to host another Te Matatini until 2039.

For early-bird ticket prices go to www.tematatini.co.nz, these expire midnight 31 December 2014.