A festival that will feature 1500 children from throughout the Bay of Plenty performing their best kapa haka takes place today.

The Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Festival will be held over two days at St Mary's School in 13th Ave.

The annual event has been held in Tauranga since 1992, growing from eight schools taking part to more than 40 from the wider Western Bay of Plenty.

More than 4000 spectators are expected to attend.

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St Mary's School principal Ben Fuller said this was the first time the school had hosted the event and he wanted to acknowledge the support from the Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Trust, established to support kapa haka in the region. 
 
Mr Fuller said an event of this size required a lot of support from community based organisations. This year's event was supported by both Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District Councils, Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust, Bay Trust and local iwi.

The school has organised a park-and-ride service from near Memorial Park to help ease the congestion on the school's neighbouring residential roads.