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Cyclone-affected Kapa Haka Groups Find A Way To Perform

The devastation and continued impact that last year’s Cyclone Gabrielle has had on whānau in the Kahungunu/Hawke’s Bay area hasn’t stopped passionate kapa haka performers from preparing for this weekend’s senior regional competitions.

Cyclone Gabrielle was one of the most significant disasters to impact the Hawke’s Bay region in recent times and more than a year later marae, roads and infrastructure are still being repaired.

But the love for kapa haka and the opportunity to represent their whānau on stage has contributed to the resilience to perform.

“Our groups have been through a lot over the last year and many of them are still going through these issues. Whānau homes are still waiting to be repaired and are being accommodated by marae and other whānau", says Narelle Huata, Chair of the Ngāti Kahungunu Rūnanga Arts and Culture Board.

“This is a positive kaupapa that our Kahungunu people are ready for and ready to support.”

Many kapa haka groups in the region have been forced to find alternative travel routes to attend practice for their regional competitions, resorting to practising online and having to find other venues because their marae are still out of bounds.

Thirteen senior kapa haka groups from Kahungunu will compete in Dannevirke tomorrow for the chance to represent their region at Te Matatini National Festival in Ngāmotu/New Plymouth in 2025. This is the first regionals in the district in four years and the first time Tāmaki-nui-a-Rua has hosted the event in Dannevirke.

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“Feedback from the groups has been very positive. They have missed performing for four years and look forward to being back on the stage.”

The Ngāti Kahungunu Regional Kapa Haka Competition will be held on Saturday 24th February at the Dannevirke A&P Showgrounds.

Whakaata Māori are our exclusive broadcast partner for The Road to Te Matatini. Download the Māori+ app or visit their website at to witness the magic of kapa haka.

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