Te Matatini is off to a roaring start with day one of the festival done and dusted and day two looking to be a beauty.
The four-day kapa haka spectacle has made its huge return after four years and multiple delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fifteen haka groups from across the motu performed yesterday at the long-awaited Te Matatini national kapa haka festival hosted in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The first day of the competition was full of stunning solos and group vocals. The sheer mana of every kapa was incredible.
Muriwhenua o Te Tai Tokerau was the first kapa to set the bar for the four-day festival and they did an amazing job.
One supporter congratulated the team on their efforts at the earliest stage of the festival: “I am very proud of the outstanding performance that this ropu did today.”
They added: “Going first is definitely not easy and yet this ropu did a wonderful job setting a great standard for the other Kapa haka groups to reach. You could really feel the love the team have for each other and the ones who have passed on.”
Another favourite of the day was Ngāti Rangiwewehi o Te Arawa.
Many supporters took the time to show some love for the kapa with one writing: “Stunning performance from start to finish. My fav of the day.”
“You guys were bloody awesome to watch! I really felt the effort and soul in your performance today and felt it set a fine standard of how our Maori culture should be held at. Incredible! I wish I could watch it for the first time again. Gave me chills,” wrote another.
Te Ahi a Tahurangi o Te Whanganui a Tara gave us chills with many describing it as the most “beautiful” performance of the day.
Despite the recent devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti o Te Tairāwhiti put their all into their performance with one Instagram commenter referring to their haka as “more than a performance. It was an event.”
Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti is one of 10 groups severely impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.
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Day two of Te Matatini is off to a great start as another fifteen performances grace the stage for a chance to make it to Saturday’s final.