The handing over of the hosting of Te Matatini was completed over the weekend with the landing of the festival's mauri stone at Rākautātahi Marae in Takapau. It's the first stop in a major tour through the host region's many marae, before the stone makes its way to the host town.
It's more than just a rock, it carries with it the mana of Te Matatini.
Don Hutana of Ngāti Kahungunu says, " This sacred rock will go around the region, today it has arrived at Rakautatahi Marae, the first marae here in the south in the Tamatea region."
Locals have big plans for the arrival of the mauri. Brian Morris says, " The mauri will stay here in Takapau for a week and go to the schools, the kōhanga reo. There is a concert tonight to celebrate kapa haka and to raise the awareness of kapa haka in the community."
It will remain in Ngāti Kahungunu until 2017, locals hope it will raise awareness of the importance of kapa haka within the community. Hutana says " It's great for marae throughout the region the importance of Te Matatini, so that kapa haka from all around join."
According to Morris, "The mauri will then move to Porangahau Marae and remain there for a while." Don says, "After this marae, the mauri will go to the Heretauranga regions and to other Ngāti Kahungunu marae, that's its spiritual journey."
Locals of Takapau are encouraged to view the mauri, before it makes its way around the region.