Regional | Chris Hipkins

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins faces questions over funding at Te Matatini

Photo: Ryan Anderson / Stuff

By Katie Doyle for Stuff

The Prime Minister faced questions about government funding of Te Matatini on Saturday afternoon while joining thousands of spectators watching the kapa haka finals.

Chris Hipkins arrived at Ngā Ana Wai (Eden Park) in the afternoon and spent time touring the marketplace after newcomers Angitū performed.

He and other ministers faced questions about future funding for Te Matatini, something that has been a hot topic with audience members.

In Budget 2022 the Government pledged nearly $20m to the NZ Symphony Orchestra, while the Royal New Zealand Ballet received $8m. By comparison, Te Matatini received just under $3m.

“They're different, and so I don't think we should necessarily compare them, but we do need to look at the longer-term funding picture,” said Hipkins.

When pressed if that meant Te Matatini could be in for more funding next time round, Hipkins was coy.

“We want to make sure that this event can continue to grow and thrive. Let's just put it that way.”

As he toured the Matatini marketplace, the prime minister remarked how cool the vibe was and said it was an amazing celebration.

Inside the stadium it was clear how focused everyone was on the performances, while the marketplace was far more laid back, he said.

But on the question of which team should take out the winning spot, Hipkins remained tightlipped.