Waipapa Taumata Rau partners with Te Matatini

By James Perry

This is the first time the University of Auckland has been directly involved with the world’s leading celebration of kapa haka.

Tāmaki Makaurau is the host rohe for the hugely anticipated, biennial Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival in February at Ngā Ana Wai (Eden Park).

Waipapa Taumata Rau Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori, Professor Te Kawehau Hoskins, said that being able to announce the partnership during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori was particularly appropriate given that kapa haka is acknowledged as a key role in the revitalisation of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori.

“In 2020, the University introduced a new strategy – Taumata Teitei – which includes a strong focus on te ao Māori principles of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, and kaitiakitanga. These values very much reflect in this partnership with Te Matatini, and we look forward to our staff, students and iwi stakeholders seeing us walk the talk in our commitment to Te Tiriti and a sustainable and real partnership with iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau and throughout Aotearoa.

“It’s been 50 years since the first Te Matatini festival, and we also acknowledge 50 years since the petition to Government to have te reo Māori revitalised in schools. It’s a fine year for a celebration.”

Te Matatini Chief Executive Carl Ross welcomes the partnership with Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland.

“There is overwhelming evidence of the positive contributions that kapa haka makes to the educational outcomes of students who actively participate,” he said.

As a strategic partner, the University will contribute to the event financially, but also play an active part in the event including co-creating the Mātauranga Village, which will showcase the impact of education.

Te Matatini is the most significant cultural festival for Māori performing arts. It’s held every two years in a different city throughout Aotearoa and is one of the most highly anticipated events for performers and kapa haka fans around the world. It was last held in Tāmaki Makaurau in 2002 and before that in 1981.

The festival, which is whānau friendly attracts thousands of people in the audience, up to one-million viewers online and hundreds of performers.