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Te Matatini Festival Experience

Te Matatini takes place every two years and is the biggest event in the Māori calendar. This four-day festival is filled with kapa haka, singing, poi, haka and meeting and interacting with new people from different iwi.


The festival is hosted by a different iwi each time. Ngati Kahungunu were the hosts for 2017, which meant that Te Matatini was held in Hawke’s Bay at the Hasting’s Sports Park on Thursday 23 February. A group of Woodford House students, including myself, were fortunate enough to attend.

Out of the 47 teams performing, we were lucky to watch nine of them. All in all, it was an awesome experience, especially for our younger girls. For them to be exposed to kapa haka and even Māori culture was such a great opportunity because it gives them a bit of a taster of what it’s like. For our older girls, they absolutely loved being back in the Māori environment.

Year 13 student, Montana Porima, said, “It was a nice to be around a large group of Māori where we all celebrate our culture together”.

Not only was the kapa haka an awesome experience, but the markets that were scattered around the venue were great too.

“One of my favourite tents was the franchise tent. Here we could get a moko on our chin. They placed a moko template on our chin and they painted it black and added glitter on top,” said Katarina Porima.

All the girls loved their mokos and were proud of them when they came back to school.

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This day truly was one to remember. This day would not have been possible without the organisation from the Performing Arts Department, Mrs Carpenter and Mrs Mackenzie, and we are very grateful for their efforts.

Angel Hillman, Year 13 – Student Head of Kapa Haka