Te Matatini board member Junior Tana confirmed that the national rule outlining an end of August cut off date has now been extended to September.
The statement was made last night during a Haka Yarns livestream with Chey Milne and Kereama Wright.
The move, Tana says, is in the wake of COVID-19 concerns and event restrictions.
He says the topic was well-discussed but the safety of whānau, hapū and iwi in attendance was and is at the core of Te Matatini’s decision.
Further changes include giving the five remaining rohe the option of sending representatives to the national competition in the event that a regional event is not held.
Junior Tana, who is the Te Matatini board member for Waitaha, confirmed that his rohe stretching from Ōtautahi south to Invercargil, has taken this option.
Tana says the Waitaha executive voted to send three groups that qualified for the 2019 Te Matatini Ki Te Ao festival held in Wellington - Te Ahikaaroa, Te Pou Tū Māro and Ngā Manu a Tāne, to the upcoming festival in Auckland.
Sources told Te Ao, some groups are very upset and disappointed in the lack of consultation, but Tana said although it was a hard decision for the rohe to make, their region faced losing their quota of three groups by holding a post COVID-19 lockdown regional competition with less than nine teams participating.
More information to come.