TAHUA2023: Significant funding increase for Te Matatini

By James Perry

Te Matatini is one of the big winners from Budget 2023 announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson today.

After receiving just $2.9m in 2022, Te Matatini has had a dramatic increase of $15m a year for the next two years.

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Willow-Jean Prime says it shows the government continues to recognise and support the important place of kapa haka in Aotearoa.

“Te Matatini 2023 showcased incredible talent and mana from across the country and I’m delighted that this government is further investing in the delivery of the biennial national kapa haka festival.

“This new investment builds on the hard mahi over the past year to solidify the foundations for Te Matatini to expand from a biennial, national festival, to also foster and support kapa haka in our regions."

Te Matatini Chairman, Herewini Parata has welcomed the increase, saying it is an acknowledgement of the value kapa haka and Te Matatini brings to the country.

"E puta ana a Te Matatini ki ngā kaupapa whānui o te ao. E ū ai tā tātou taumata tirohanga a Te Matatini, mana motuhake ki te kainga, matatū, mataora, matatini ki te ao. Ko te momonatanga o tēnei tahua pūtea ka tau ki roto i tātou rohe o Te Matatini hei whakatipu i ngā āhuatanga o tēnei mea te kapa haka."
(Te Matatini is becoming a part of all aspects of our society. For it to keep succeeding it needs to be strong in the regions, and alive and visible around the world. The majority of the funding received today will go a long way to growing and developing kapa haka in all of the Te Matatini regions.)

Parata says that will include supporting kapa haka in schools and kura, marae and communities to participate in their respective regionals and national competitions and assisting with easing costly burdens on kapa and rohe.

The Māori Party has consistently advocated for increased funding for Te Matatini to be brought in line with other organisations in the sector including the Royal NZ Ballet and the NZ Symphony Orchestra. Today the party acknowledged the increase of funding Te Matatini has worked hard to achieve.

"We're proud to have fought alongside our people delivering the largest ever increase in funding for kapa haka in Aotearoa," it said in a statement.

More than just an event

This year's increase means for the first time the national kapa haka festival will have more funding than the NZSO.

“Our investment of $34 million over two years ensures that this kaupapa is funded in an equitable way, embedding a rohe-based kapa haka network and assisting across the motu to plan for the future and achieve the vision of Te Matatini - Mana motuhake ki te kāinga. Matatū, Mataora, Matatini ki te ao.

“Te Matatini is more than just an event that takes place every two years. It is a reason for Māori to connect to their culture and support their well-being – ā-hinengaro, ā-wairua, ā-tinana. In Māoridom, the price of well-being is not just in dollar value, it is knowing your whakapapa. This funding will continue to support the importance of culture in uplifting whānau in these recent difficult times and into the future," Prime said.

She added it is important that the funding reaches the rohe as soon as possible so it can achieve its intention of building a strong kapa haka base to launch Te Matatini into the future.

"From the success of that, I hope that will support future budget bids that we put forward to the Minister of Finance. We believe that this significant injection of funding is required to establish a solid, robust structure for Te Matatini."

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