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Kapa Haka Festival Gives Power To The People

Kapa Haka Festival Gives Power To The People

A new initiative will give voting power to the people at next year’s Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival. Called the ‘Peoples Choice Awards’, the initiative will enable people at home and onsite to choose who they think are the outstanding performers.

The festival which showcases 1300 Maori performers in 32 kapa haka groups will give audiences the power to text their vote for the top kapa haka group. More than 35,000 people are expected at the event from February 22 to 25 at Palmerston North’s Arena Manawatu – more than enough to tip the scales in any group’s favour.

The project is a joint initiative with Maori Television and will enable audiences on site or at home, to vote for their favourite team by simple phone texting. Te Matatini organisers say planning for the Peoples Choice Awards began after the last festival to give kiwis across the nation a real say in the competition.

Sixteen teams will compete on Friday and Saturday and the top six teams will be announced on Saturday evening by the judges. The lines will be opened throughout the festival, but it’s not till after the judges announce the top six teams that the competition pace moves up another gear.

From day one the competition looks set to be a nail biting affair with five of the top teams – Te Waka Huia, Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Waihirere, Te Matapihi and Tu-Te-Manawa-Maurea - competing in the first pool. With three of them about to be eliminated on the first day, it’s anyone’s guess how the other two days will pan out.

Two things are certain though. The voting system will trigger more tribal participation as group and iwi mana go on the line. And in the final countdown, the overall winning group will have undergone more scrutiny than any other group in the festival’s 35 year history.

People at home can watch the action unfold on Maori Television with updates and highlights during all four days of the festival – Thursday to Sunday, February 22 to 25, from 10.00 PM to 11.00 PM.

The channel will also broadcast live from the finals on Sunday February 25 from 10.30 AM to 4.00 PM as the top six teams challenge for the coveted national title before the announcement of the supreme winner.

Festival tickets can be booked through Ticket Direct and provide access to all events onsite, including concerts with headline acts. Daily gate sales of $25 are further reduced for three day, family and children concessions while kids under five are free.

Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival is proudly supported by UNESCO.


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