Te Matatini Kapa Haka

This year’s Kapa Haka festival starts tomorrow in Hagley Park, Christchurch, with an opening powhiri. Forty-five teams will be performing over the next 4 days. This is like the Olympics for Maori.

Kapa Haka is a mixture of dance, song, body actions, and facial expressions. Each performance tells a story in Maori. Each team has 30 minutes on stage to show what they can do. Fifteen teams will perform each day. The finals will be held on Sunday.

Kapa Haka festival is held every two years, usually in the North Island. This year, the people of Ngai Tahu wanted to thank Maori all over New Zealand for their support following the earthquakes. About 1,500 Maori visitors will stay in 24 marae, schools and other centres around Christchurch. 500 volunteers are helping with the organisation of the event, providing food, transport, tents for the performers and play areas for children.

A huge stage in Hagley Park has a carving of native timber in front of it. It is 30 metres in length and 13 metres high. It was carved at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Craft Institute in Rotorua and took 6 months to make.


• powhiri – a welcome ceremony
• Ngai Tahu – South Island tribe
• marae – buildings including a meeting house

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