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Age no barrier to performing at Kaumātua Kapa Haka

Age no barrier to performing at New Zealand Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka

Up to 300 performers between the ages of 50 and 98 will take part in the New Zealand Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka at Te Papa this weekend (28 and 29 June 2014).

The ten kapa haka groups performing on Saturday and Sunday come from as far away as Auckland and Christchurch. The weekend will be a rich and lively festival of traditional song and dance performed by some of New Zealand’s most experienced and knowledgeable kapa haka performers.

New Zealand Post Group Brand and Community Investment Manager, Nicola Airey, is delighted that the New Zealand Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka has rightly become a highlight of Matariki celebrations in the Capital. “The performers bring experience and grace to the stage and showcase the best of kapa haka. We can all learn a lot from them.”

Puti Mackey, spokesperson for the He Kura Te Tangata charitable trust that organises the annual event, says it provides opportunities for senior arts performers and enthusiasts to perform Māori compositions written before 1970, and keep the old songs alive.

“They’ll be taking centre stage to show their families, friends and visitors the way kapa haka used to be done. It will be a real family event, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren seeing their pakeke (elders) perform,” says Puti Mackey.

A group from Ngāti Kahungunu has been attending the festival since it began. “It gives kaumātua the opportunity to get together for whakawhanaungatanga (a sense of connection with others),” says a spokesperson for the performers, Narelle Huata. “This is also a great opportunity for our kaumātua to perform well known compositions of their time.”

Anne Kershaw is the co-ordinator for Taranaki Ki Te Tonga, which is made up of senior members of the Patea Māori Club. She says the weekend is a chance to catch up with old friends in other kapa haka groups. “We’ve seen them at regional and national kapa haka competitions for many, many years, since the 1960s, and we are very close.”

Te Papa’s Acting Chief Executive and Kaihautū, Arapata Hakiwai, says the New Zealand Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka is one of the national museum’s most popular annual events. “This is a way of bringing performers and audiences together from around the country to celebrate and preserve traditions and to ensure that these important taonga (treasures) continue into the future,” he says.

“The fact that the event is back for its seventh year at Te Papa is testament to the mana and vibrancy of this celebration. It is also an exciting way to mark Matariki, the Māori New Year, and now more people than ever before can be a part of it by watching it live online.”

More information about the New Zealand Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka can be found at

To watch the event live online go to

NEW ZEALAND POST KAUMĀTUA KAPA HAKA: Saturday 28 June from 10.30am and Sunday 29 June from 10.30 am, Soundings Theatre, Level 2, Te Papa. Free entry. Theatre seating and big screens available.


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