Ae Marika! 26 Feb 2013 – Te Matatini 2013

Posted on February 26, 2013 by admin in Ae Marika

Going to the Matatini last week was a real thrill – all the best kapahaka groups in the country gathered together at the Rotorua International Stadium for a four day extravaganza of Maori performing arts.

The stadium was well set out, with heaps of space for people to watch from the fields and the grandstands, although it would’ve been nice if the kaumatua and kuia had free access to the grandstand which always had a few extra seats. There were also three big screens for people to watch as well, so the viewing was great and the sound was excellent.

There was also a very good food and beverages area right next to the stadium, with clothing and merchandise stalls and a range of service providers promoting their activities and their organisations. They also had a stage for evening entertainment and another big screen so people could watch the groups while they were browsing as well.

But the best bit was the kapahaka, and what an extravaganza it was. There were 2 basic styles on the stage – old school and new school – and the support for both styles was huge, but the variety in the performances was worth going down to see.

Performances are becoming a lot more athletic and there is clearly a focus on performers who can do a wide range of vigorous activities, and as a result performers are also getting a lot more toned. In fact, while Tuhourangi was performing the guys from Matarae i o Rehu were out the back doing push ups and sprints to prep for their time on stage!!

Tai Tokerau was well represented by three groups – Hatea of Whangarei, Hokianga (from where else?) and of course Muriwhenua from right here in Kaitaia, and all 3 did us proud.

Hatea was great – they bring a quality of singing recognised as being the best in the country by winning the waiata tira at the last two Matatini. They have harnessed that and extended it with another polished performance in 2013.

Hokianga’s performance was one of energy and raw power delivered with a freshness and enthusiasm that you only get with new groups. And even though my mokopuna goes to Te Rangi Aniwaniwa, the t-shirt she wore with pride at Matatini was Hokianga’s!

And Muriwhenua … well, I can’t help saying I got a soft spot for Muriz; they’re my hometown crew, I know a lot of them really well, and I like the energy and the style that they bring to the stage. To me, they represent a bringing together of the old school and the new school – high energy, but with a good dose of traditional items.

To no great effect though … none of the Tai Tokerau teams made the finals (just goes to show how blind the judges are!!!) but they were all great anyway.

The winners at Matatini were Waka Huia, and deservedly so. They were excellent. They have been at the pinnacle of kapa haka for some time now and they represent the highest standards that all others must reach if they want to win. They bring a level of professionalism and pride that shows in all that they do, and their performance was worthy of the highest accolade. Congratulations to Waka Huia.

And commiserations to Matarae – I think they were excellent as well but clearly the judges don’t agree.

AE MARIKA is an article written every week by Hone Harawira, leader of the MANA Movement and Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau. You are welcome to use any of the comments and to ascribe them to Mr Harawira. The full range of Hone’s articles can be found on the MANA website at