Forty seven primary and intermediate schools from around the country will be welcomed in to Arena Manawatū in Palmerston North this morning, for day one of the Te Mana Kuratahi Kapa Haka competition.
Local iwi and host school Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manawatū have been working tirelessly to ensure everything goes to plan. Teacher, Pahau Arapere says, “The kids have been looking forward to this today for months, and now the day is finally here the kids are ecstatic.”
The first group to take to the stage today hails from the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Te Wharekura o Ruatoki, who were the winners of this competition in 2002, will stand at 2pm this afternoon, followed by Te Rāwhitiroa from Te Tai Tokerau.
A panel of 23 judges will have the difficult task of observing and evaluating each group. Yesterday they were welcomed into the area by hosts, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manawatū.
Judge, Ruka Broughton says, “I commend the 47 groups, their parents, their grandparents, their marae, their teachers and the children themselves. I really hope the kids get on stage and are happy and sing their hearts out.”
This is the largest gathering in the history of the national competition. All participating schools will represent a total of 11 rohe.
The year 2000 marked the start of the event, formerly known as the Primary School Nationals and has developed over time.
Te Kāea will be at Arena Manawatu and will bring up to date coverage of the event today through to Thursday 5 November.