Haka performers sign petition to give more to Te Matatini

By Tamati Tiananga

A petition led by the Māori Party, which calls for an increase in funding for Te Matatini to the tune of $19 million, has won the signatures of performers from the top nine Te Matatini haka groups. 

"We are also hoping to gain support from other haka groups, not specifically in numbers but from leaders of those groups along with others who support the petition to sign," Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi says. "The funding has always fallen short for Te Matatini."

"This isn't about degrading other arts like ballet and the symphony orchestra, but why are they regarded more highly? Mainly because Māori has always been dismissed in the running of our own country. So, I encourage everybody to get involved and sign this open letter to show Te Matatini and the minister our plea. The time has come."

'Change the name'

Waititi says the petition to change th4e country's name to Aotearoa will be brought to Parliament this week.

"We are still waiting for artist Hohepa Thompson's Hori's Pledge - This is Aotearoa. Once he has finished, we will be pushing forward to Parliament."

"I urge everyone from today to Thursday to support this pledge, to further cement our Māori language onto this land by changing the name New Zealand to Aotearoa and also support the Te Matatini petition in the hopes to elevate our language to that of our ancestors' aspirated it be."