"Mokotini" kicks off with Te Matatini preparation well underway

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Christchurch region preparations are in full swing for the national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini.

Six giant pounamu boulders were shipped into the Te Matatini grounds at Hagley Park. The boulders originated from the West Coast, but they've been housed at the Canterbury Museum, and they'll be placed around the grounds as ornaments for the public to see next week.

The real eye-catcher today were the little ones performing on Te Mokotini stage.

Mokotini is much like Te Matatini, with a stage, audience and judges except it's only for mokopuna.

Principal of Te Kura Whakapūmau, Tia Gillitte says, “The idea came from a teacher from Oterepo, on how can te kōhanga reo support Te Matatini?  The answer was Mokotini.”

The idea behind this event was in support of Te Matatini which kicks off next week.

A member of the audience, Hone Rask says, “This is such an amazing event because it encourages our children to firstly, learn te reo, secondly, the performing arts and this is where it all begins.  Therefore, from here hopefully it'll expand to our kura kaupapa, wharekura and university reo Māori courses levels, to teach te reo to our children.”

It's a great grooming platform for the kids, but more importantly it boosts their confidence.

For now the Mokotini stage will have to do for these young ones, but who knows, in the next few years their faces may appear on the national stage.