Te Matatini, the national Kapa Haka festival, proved itself as a drawcard for the region and as one of the most significant cultural events in New Zealand as more than 60,000 people headed to Wellington for the four-day event.
Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair Chris Laidlaw said that the theme of the 2019 festival, Te Matatini ki te Ao, couldn’t be more apt.
“Te Matatini showed how we can bring people together and share our language, stories, arts and culture with the world. This was a true international level event,” said Cr Laidlaw.
Performers from 46 groups, representing all regions of New Zealand as well as whanau from Australia, entertained crowds with split-second choreography, strong heart and voice showing why the biennial festival is considered the pinnacle for Māori performing arts.
Councillor Laidlaw congratulated Ngā Tumanako as Te Toa Whakaihuwaka (overall winners) of Te Matatini, as well as the organisers of the successful smoke-free and alcohol-free festival.
“Te Matatini proves that a whanau friendly event can draw a significant crowd. Performers, whanau and fans travelled far and wide and an excellent team of volunteers made sure that they felt welcome. Te Matatini should serve as an example for other event organisers on how to bring people in to a region and care for them. The Council hopes that Te Matatini returns to the region in the future,” added Cr Laidlaw.