Fresh faces and renowned veterans vie for top honours at Tainui Waka Kapa Haka Festival

Fresh Faces and Renowned Veterans Vie for Top Honours at Tainui Waka Kapa Haka Festival

Tainui is gearing up for a monumental Tainui Waka Kapa Haka Festival at the GLOBOX Arena, Claudelands.

A record-breaking 22 kapa haka teams for the region are confirmed to compete across two action-packed days on April 26-27.

With free parking and koha (donation) entry, the scene is set to surpass all previous attendance records for this prestigious event.

This year’s festival welcomes back Mōtai Tangata Rau, a beloved team with Ngāti Raukawa lineage, who returs from hiatus since 2019. Their distinct brand of kapa haka adds a layer of excitement to the already electrifying lineup.

Heightening the anticipation are Te Kapa Haka o Ngā Pua o Te Kōwhara, Te Pou o Mangataawhiri, and Te Iti Kahurangi, all returning to the stage fresh from captivating audiences at their Te Matatini 2023 national performances. Notably, Te Pou o Mangataawhiri and Te Iti Kahurangi secured coveted finalist spots in 2023, raising the stakes even higher for this year’s competition.

Te Pou o Mangataawhiri will face a significant challenge this year as they aim to retain their regional champion title, a reign that began in 2018. Due to the Covid-19 disruptions, this year’s event marks the first opportunity in six years for other kapa haka to challenge their reign. This highly anticipated showdown promises a thrilling display of the enduring skill of Te Pou o Mangataawhiri and their competitors’ fierce determination.

Adding to the competitive fire is Te Pae Kahurangi, a new composite team formed from the legacy of renowned tutors Kingi Kiriona and Te Waipounamu Teinakore. Known for their innovative and powerful brand of kapa haka, Te Pae Kahurangi promises to be a force to be reckoned with on the competition stage.

Eyes will be on Hauraki Kōwhao Rau this year as they take the stage for the first time at the Tainui competitions.

Historically, Hauraki has been the only Tainui region absent from these prestigious events. Led by Te Maharanui Mikaere and Te Puna Moanaroa, Hauraki Kōwhao Rau is poised to make a splash and challenge the established veterans for top honours.

The top six teams will secure the ultimate honour: a coveted spot at the pinnacle of kapa haka – the Te Matatini Festival, set to be held at Te Kāhui Maunga, Taranaki in 2025. The Tainui Waka Kapa Haka Festival promises to be a fierce display of cultural excellence.

Beyond the performances, the festival offers a vibrant marketplace experience. Ethnic kai stalls boasting all the street food favourites, including the ever-popular kai Māori, are promised to tantalise the taste buds. This is also a fantastic opportunity to support kaupapa Māori businesses, with over 40 vendors showcasing a diverse range of art, taonga, kai, clothing, and more.

A partnership with the Te Ngākau-a-Kiwa Trust gives life to the Hauora Hub, an initiative that aspires to support positive health outcomes for whānau. This comprehensive resource offers a collection of providers and initiatives designed to improve the holistic health of the local community.

Festival director Toi West attributes the unprecedented surge in participants to a recent rule change that encourages wider participation at the regional level. “The record-breaking participation is a testament to the renewed vigour of Tainui Kapa Haka,” says West. “It also reflects a nationwide trend that we hope future festivals will continue to cultivate, maximising the reach and influence of kapa haka, fostering cultural identity, and promoting positive health, economic, and holistic wellbeing outcomes for the wider community.”

Chair Paraone Gloyne explains: “It’s always an exciting time when the Tainui competition comes around, not only for the participating kapa haka, but their support crew and whānau who have all contributed to getting them on stage to represent who they are and where they are from. Kapa haka can be a testing lifestyle, but it’s also life-changing; there are multitudes of people who have been inspired to connect with their marae, and learn te reo and tikanga Māori because of kapa haka. Our Tainui competition is an opportunity to unite, celebrate the stories of Tainui and champion our reo and tikanga through kapa haka.”

The Tainui Waka Kapa Haka Festival 2024 promises to be a spectacular display of cultural pride, power, and vibrant storytelling. Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the very best of Tainui Kapa Haka! Key Event Information:

● Venue: GLOBOX Arena, Claudelands.

● Dates: Friday, April 26: 12pm – 6pm | Saturday Ap,ril 27: 8am – 6pm.

● Entry: Koha (donation).

● Parking: Free Public Parking via Gate 3 & 4.

● Broadcast: Whakaata Māori (Freeview CH 5) and

● Important notes:

○ No photos or videos.

○ Only individually packed homemade food allowed into the venue. No commercial food allowed.

○ Smoke free, vape free, alcohol and drug free event.

- Waatea News