Haka groups arrive to Christchurch in steady stream

By Heeni Brown

Haka groups arrived in a steady stream today in Christchurch for the formal opening of the competition tomorrow.  For the teams themselves, there were all sorts of preparations for performers and instruments before zero hour. 

In tune and the bags are packed, groups heading to Christchurch are on course.

Performers were asked about their personal rituals.

Two or three days a'go, the stings were ready.  But on performance day, the guitar will be restrung and re-tuned.  The eyeliner will be put on, to enhance the eyes.

One tutor explains, "I don't have a plan B.  That's a sign that something could go wrong.  So all our focus will be on getting it right the first time."

In Christchurch, the rituals keep rolling out.  "You need to get into the mojo zone, to get yourself ready and relax also," says another performer.

Today teams begun pacing in the lead up to this week's showdown.

"We brought some leaves from the bush back home in Te Urewera, where we also live off our forest, our food source," says one Mataatua performer.

Some performers caught a sneak peek of the stage and were able to go through the paces of the performance to help put their best foot forward.

Herewini Parata from Te Matatini National Committee says, "The first thing is that everybody turns up early.  The buses are bringing them here way before the allocated time.  They will then wait in the tents and get ready.
There is also an area with the same specs as the stage where the groups can run through their brackets."

There's no room for mistakes.  Most groups have arrived giving themselves the chance to have their own must dos and don't forgets.

Some groups don't even watch other teams, staying focused on their own performance, but they'll all be watching the clock from now until they hit the Te Matatini stage.