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Funding Appeal To Secure Te Matatini For Te Tauihu

Te Tauihu (upper South Island) is set to host Te Matatini in 2027, but council funds are being requested to secure the event for the region.

Kahu Paki Paki, Nelson City councillor for the Whakatū Māori Ward, today [Monday] said he was “enthusiastic” for the city’s opportunity to host the national kapa haka festival.

“It generates a type of hype, and it generates a lot of participation that’s pretty tough to match right across the board,” he said.

“But I do believe that we shouldn’t be letting our region down by missing this opportunity to prepare well and to demonstrate our commitment to the event itself.”

Te Matatini is slated to occur in Te Tauihu in 2027, but approximately $400,000 is needed by late 2024 to lock the event in for the region.

“I know the anticipation within the Māori community is one of great concern because of the responsibilities that we have in terms of manaakitanga and hosting,” Paki Paki said.

“For the councils to be able to get behind this event, to really showcase our region is critically important.”

The Nelson City and Tasman District Councils have jointly funded a full-time kaituitui ahurea to support the coordination of national kapa haka events from 2023-2027.

However, Nelson is also proposing to invest $150,000 into Te Matatini in its draft Long-Term Plan. No such funding allocation currently exists in Tasman’s draft plan, though plan deliberations are underway.

Jane du Feu represented Te Tauihu o te Waka a Maui Māori Cultural Council during each councils’ Long Term Plan hearings where she asked for funding contributions.

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“It is the crème de la crème in kapa haka. It is the senior pinnacle for the development of our tamariki, our little ones right through secondary school to seniors, therefore it is extremely prestigious,” she said.

“That comes about, hopefully, with your help.”

Despite the potential upfront costs, du Feu said hosting provides “a huge economic growth benefit” for the region.

Anywhere between 30,000 and 60,000 are expected to visit the region over the week Te Matatini is held and the 2023 event in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) generated almost $22 million of spend.

However, due Feu also said that the festival increases the cultural capabilities of the region’s tamariki and upholds the mana of the rohe.

“We have a responsibility to put our best foot forward in hosting our manuhiri that come into our space.”

Te Matatini will occur in Te Tauihu in 2027 (file photo). Credit: RNZ/Te Aniwa Hurihanganui.

Last year marked the beginning of the region’s foray into hosting major national kapa haka competitions, with the primary schools’ Te Mana Kuratahi coming to Whakatū.

“We decided that we needed to start on that road for the benefit of our mokopuna and work our way through,” du Feu said.

“The feedback we got was amazing, they felt that it was the best-ever. They were hosted the best, they were fed the best… so we want to continue that.”

The secondary schools’ Ngā Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua will follow next month, eventually building to Te Matatini for 2027.

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