Te Matatini pleas for better government assistance

By Taroi Black

Over 200,000 people either attended or tuned in to the live broadcast of this year's Te Matatini festival, organised by Te Matatini Kapa Haka Aotearoa.

But the question remains whether or not Te Matatini's hope of more government support to help fund the biennial event will be achieved.

According to Herewini Parata, “We would like extra government funding.  You know, maybe double our baseline."

Te Matatini only receives $1.2 million dollars a year from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.  The Royal New Zealand Ballet receives close to $4.4 million a year and The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra receives $13.4 million a year.

According to Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Maggie Barry, “It is a completely different business model.  

If Te Matatini get back to me and say that they would like to employ full-time staff and that they would like to do more performances during the year over and above than what they’re doing now in schools then I would look at that as a funding option for a business model.”

Te Matatini attracts around 50,000 spectators and another 150,000 through live stream, radio and television.  But Maggie Barry says it's difficult to say who deserves more money.

“When you look at the funding based on audience figures for opera, for ballet, for orchestras it is difficult to say because one event gets more people going to it therefeor it deserves more money,” says Maggie Barry.

Christchurch has now handed the festival over for Ngāti Kahungunu to organise in another two years, and in that time we will see whether Te Matatini's interests take flight.