Indigenous | Te Matatini

Tāmaki mana whenua ready for Te Matatini

Thousands are expected to descend upon Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei next year for the welcoming ceremony of Te Matatini 2023.

Te Matatini this week, confirmed the dates for next year's national competition, from February 21 to 25 and now the competing groups, organisers, and mana whenua can finally get on with the job.

But the question remains, is Ngāti Whātua and the mana whenua of Auckland ready?

Monique Maihi Pihema of Ngāti Whātua says yes.

"Ngāti Whātua is definitely ready."

"We're eally excited about hosting Te Matatini Herenga Waka, Herenga Tangata. We've had over two and a half years now to prepare for this exciting kaupapa."

Twice the festival has had to be postponed due to Covid-19, and, according to Ngāti Whātua, that forced them to continue to carry the workload.

"We actually haven't stopped preparing for Te Matatini. We've had a lot of hui with ngā kapa o Tāmaki to ensure when the time does come, we are ready."

For Te Matatini, and its chief executive Carl Ross, the confirmation of the date for the competition means a whole lot of wok

"Our ringa rehe, 500 volunteers up there at Auckland Council, and the stadium itself, at Eden Park. So there is a lot of work."

Ross says the Te Matatini stage is a major challenge.

"To stand that māhau up, before you put the atāmira behind it is a major piece of work, it's 60 tonnes, 34 tonnes of carving and 26 tonnes of ballast."

All that remains now is to see which group will be crowned Te Matatini champion.