Wellington gear up for Haka in the Park

By Regan Paranihi
Photo source: Te Rā o te Raukura

Wellington’s biennial senior kapa haka event is set to take place on February 3 at Te Whiti Park in Waiwhetū.

Haka in the Park is the event that determines who will represent the Wellington region in the prestigious Te Matatini competition.

It is a community friendly event that promotes and lifts the profile of kapa haka in the region in agreement with the strategic plan by the Wellington Māori Cultural Society (WMCS).

In 2013 WMCS recognised the need to make a change to the event in order to enhance the format of the competition. They say the competitive title discouraged many kapa haka enthusiasts to participate therefore removing the word ‘competition’ from the name was the only way forward.

The following year the event was held at Te Whiti Park for the first time. The decision to take the event outdoors was a strategy to increase cultural awareness and participation from whānau and the communities throughout the region.

Watch this report from the 2016 Haka in the Park which saw the top qualifiers head into the 2017 Te Matatini competition in Hastings last year.

The outdoor event brought in twice the amount of spectators on its first year and continued to grow every year, with more participation by Māori and non-Māori enhancing and experiencing whakawhānaungatanga, manaakitanga, and wairuatanga.

The WMCS has once again teamed up with Te Atiawa Toa FM to run Haka in the Park alongside Te Rā o te Raukura which is an annual event that has been running for the past 24 years.

Te Amohaere Reihana, Secretary of the Wellington Māori Cultural Society says, “The relationship with Te Atiawa Toa FM provided a way for the Society to venture out and bring the dream to a reality. This year we are once again working with Te Atiawa Toa FM and running Haka in the Park alongside Te Rā o Te Raukura. As we head towards hosting Te Matatini 2019, we are expecting Haka in the Park 2018 to increase considerably as the excitement and enthusiasm in Te Whanganui ā Tara escalates.”

The Māori Television website will be live-streaming the kapa haka performances on February 3.

Visit the Wellington Māori Cultural Society facebook page for more information.

Here's the performance programme for the day: