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Take A Look Says Maori Affairs Minister

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia hopes many people ‘take a look’ at Maoridom’s top culture groups who will be competing at the three-day festival Kapa Haka 2002 in Auckland.

The powhiri for the biennial Maori Performing Arts festival was held at Orakei (Bastion Point) today hosted by Ngati Whatua ki Orakei. Groups begin competition tomorrow and finish on Sunday.

Mr Horomia said over the years he has attended most of the festivals and he believes they are significant on a number of levels.

“The most important thing is that it is a positive, dynamic face of Maori culture. It is the culmination of two years work for the performers, who have had to qualify at regional competitions. The festival has also been the training ground for some of Maoridom’s top talent. Many of the performers have travelled the world as part of culture groups, or moved into careers ‘behind the scenes’ in the entertainment industry.”

“While I look forward to the performances at Orakei over the next three days, I am also pleased that kapa haka is becoming a part of everyday life, with Maori culture groups in many schools and communities throughout the country,” said Mr Horomia.

The Minister said Kapa Haka 2002 is the largest Maori cultural festival in New Zealand, with a potential spin-off worth possibly $20 million to the local economy.

“The festival regularly attracts audiences of 30–40 thousand, but up to 50 thousand are expected to the event in Auckland. I hope that many non-Maori people, from around the country and overseas, take the opportunity to watch some of New Zealand’s best performers”.

Ends

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