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Kapa Haka Gains International Support Of UNESCO

Press Release
13 December 2006

National Kapa Haka Gains International Support Of UNESCO

Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival 2007, where tribes from across the nation battle for supremacy in Maori performing arts, will launch with the unprecedented support of the global organisation, UNESCO.

The biennial festival will be held in Palmerston North 22-25 February and attracts audiences of more than 35,000. If the haka stirs excitement overseas, on home turf it must rip through the soul - powerful, deafening and punishing.

There is simply nothing like it in the world and the festival, from the fierce haka to the graceful poi, is now being promoted as an international event.

It has secured the unique support of UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation, in a partnership announced today. UNESCO will promote Te Matatini through its global networks and United Nations agencies as a premier cultural event on the international festival calendar.

The 2007 festival theme will be:
Making the Good Things Last - Kia Mau Tonu Ai Ko Nga Hua Pai
UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

“We are honoured to be working in partnership with Te Matatini. Maori traditional, performing arts is a national treasure that we are proud to help celebrate and promote on the world stage,” says UNDESD NZ Coordinator, Christine Robertson.

"Making the good things last is something we are confident that all Kiwis will be able to identify with. The decade is about those things we treasure, safeguarding our taonga and treasures as a nation, those things we are willing to fight for to make sure they are there for future generations,”.

Te Matatini will strongly endorse and promote UNESCO’s outstanding work through the festival, its performers, supporters, audiences, visiting schools, indigenous networks and international guests. The festival further promotes 23 February 2007, dedicated to school tours and the start of competition, as UNESCO Day.

“UNESCO’s extraordinary support propels Maori Performing Arts and the New Zealand festival scene into the international arena. We are proud to stand beside UNESCO and promote our nation,” says Te Matatini General Manager, Wayne Johnson.

More than 100 teams contested at fourteen regional competitions, including one in Australia, in 2006. A total of 32 teams have now won the right to compete for the coveted national title.

Ends

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