180 volunteers to look after Te Matatini ki te Ao guests

By Tema Hemi

Today is the first day that all 180 volunteers at Te Matatini ki te Ao got to see all the groups they will host and cater for.  Organising a large number of volunteers can be hectic but pre-planning has been key to getting things done. 

Caring for the multitudes is what it's all about and these volunteers have had to go the extra mile for their guests.  Te Kāwai Raupapa is a Te Wānanga o Aotearoa initiative where this year's volunteers had the opportunity to learn their roles and responsibilities while gaining insight into the groups they will host. 

Volunteers manager at this year's festival, Hollie Pohatu says, "They have a good insight into who we are hosting and we actually really do our jobs properly in terms of knowing where they come from, who they represent, the iwi they're representing, and our people are well equipped with the knowledge they need to do their job properly.

"We've had our kapa haka liaisons liaising with delegates from each of the competing teams since last year in August.  So they've built relationships already, from booking buses to booking practice venues. Obviously, there aren't a hell of a lot of marae here so we are having to find spaces for groups who have opted to stay in hotels, motels and the like."

Pohatu also had a strong message for those attending the festival this year. "{It's] drug-free, smoke-free, alcohol-free but chilly bins are allowed.  Mainly come and have a good time."

Gates open at the Westpac Stadium at 7am tomorrow morning with Te Reanga Morehu o Ratana first up at 8.40am.