Waikato: Strong Kapa Haka potential

The Tainui Waka Kapa Haka Festival 2008 was a huge success, attracting more than 5,500 participants from performers to artists, stall holders and supporters. Tainui waka teams competed to qualify for the 2009 Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival to be held in Mt Maunganui.

Te Iti Kahurangi took first place, with Te Pou Mangatāwhiri in second place and debutantes Ngā Pou o Roto taking third. These three teams will represent the Tainui waka region at the national festival next year.

The festival has grown from strength to strength every year as hosts Tainui Waka Cultural Trust continue to support existing and new kapa haka groups to explore their potential.

Tainui Waka Cultural Trust chairman Joe Harawira says most of the hard work for groups is in the preparation, not just on competition day. “We support groups to achieve their potential in performance through funding wānanga for haka or te reo,” says Joe.

Festival Event Manager Craig Muntz says the Tainui Waka Cultural Trust is responsible for enhancing participation and excellence in Tainui Waka Māori Performing Arts and associated Māori cultural art forms.

Performers make a huge commitment to haka, giving their time, commitment and pūtea, says Craig. “That’s where most of the work is (in the preparation); we as a Trust support that commitment and we want to help performers to keep that focus. It’s about excellence, both on and off the stage,” he says.

Te Puni Kōkiri proudly supported the event with funding to help with event management, project coordination and venue hire.