Te Matatini to go ahead in 2023 after pandemic restrictions are lifted

By James Perry

The board of Te Matatini has confirmed the postponed national kapa haka competitions will go ahead in 2023 following the easing of gathering limits in the government's covid response.

The four-day will occur at Ngā Ana Wai (Eden Park) from February 21, with Te Matangirua (Finals day) on Saturday 25th.

Te Matatini has been postponed twice due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the national committee has remained committed to staging the event, despite considering the option of cancelling and waiting until it was safe to do so.

“We’d like to acknowledge and thank our kapa haka community, sponsors, strategic partners, haukāinga and all those involved in organising the festival, who continue to work hard to stage a world-class event in 2023,” says Chairman, Mr Selwyn Parata.

Te Matatini is celebrating 50 years of national kapa haka competition this year. The committee and its regional delegates have put the health and safety of the entire population ahead of it's decision making since Covid arrived in Aotearoa in 2020, and encouraging kaihaka and their whānau to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the virus, in an attempt to stage the event as soon as possible.

Te Matatini CEO Carl Ross, says “tiakina te whakapapa continues to be at the forefront of all that Te Matatini does. We will continue to plan for the delivery of a safe event for all to enjoy and be a part of.”

Ngā Ana Wai, (Eden Park) has already welcomed back crowds to the stands since the government lifted the restrictions, hosting nearly 15,000 last weekend as the Blues took on Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby Pacific action, and is looking forward to hosting the largest kapa haka festival after the previous false starts.

“Our team at Eden Park (Ngā Ana Wai) is thrilled to host the next Te Matatini festival, New Zealand’s most prestigious national kapa haka event.

"The festival is guaranteed to be a standout date on everyone’s calendar in February 2023,” says Chief Executive of Eden Park, Nick Sautner.

More to come.