University of Auckland: University steps up to Matatini partnership

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Tāmaki Makaurau is the hosting rohe for the hugely anticipated, biennial Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival which will be held from 22 – 25 February 2023 at Ngā Ana Wai (Eden Park). This is the first time the University has been directly involved with the world’s leading celebration of kapa haka excellence.

Waipapa Taumata Rau Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori, Professor Te Kawehau Hoskins, said that being able to announce the partnership during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) was particularly appropriate given that kapa haka is acknowledged as a key role in the revitalisation of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori.

“In 2020, the University introduced a new strategy – Taumata Teitei – which includes a strong focus on te ao Māori principles of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, and kaitiakitanga. These values very much reflect in this partnership with Te Matatini, and we look forward to our staff, students and iwi stakeholders seeing us walk the talk in our commitment to Te Tiriti and a sustainable and real partnership with iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau and throughout Aotearoa.”

“It’s been 50 years since the first Te Matatini festival, and we also acknowledge 50 years since the petition to Government to have te reo Māori revitalised in schools. It’s a fine year for a celebration.”


Pro Vice-Chancellor Maori, Professor Te Kawehau Hoskins
Te Matatini Chief Executive Carl Ross welcomes the partnership with Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland.

“There is overwhelming evidence of the positive contributions that kapa haka makes to the educational outcomes of students who actively participate,” he said.

As a strategic partner, the University will contribute to the event financially, but also play an active part in the event including co-creating the Mātauranga Village, which will showcase the impact of education.

University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Erik Lithander said that this was a partnership that clearly aligned with the University’s strategic priorities

“Given our location in Tāmaki Makaurau and the thousands of members of the wider University community that will engage with and benefit from Te Matatini, we are delighted to support this important community initiative,” he said.

Te Matatini is the most significant cultural festival for Māori performing arts. It’s held every two years in a different city throughout Aotearoa and is one of the most highly anticipated events for performers and kapa haka fans around the world. It was last held in Tāmaki Makaurau in 2002 and before that in 1981.

The festival, which is whānau friendly, and a smoke and alcohol-free event, attracts thousands of people in the audience, up to one-million viewers online and hundreds of performers. The groups must first qualify at regional competition, then deliver a seven-part 30-minute performance designed to see them progress to the final competition day and supreme title of Toa Whakaihuwaka.

The Māori King – Te Arikinui Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII – is patron of the festival.

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