A new talent section featuring everything from traditional singing to Harry Potter skits was a "huge success" at the Te Tai Tokerau Kapa Haka Festival.
The front field of Otamatea High School was packed with people for the 41st annual event. The school's te reo Maori teacher, Thomaseena Paul, said the school last hosted the event 10 years ago and this year's festival was "amazing".
"We had an absolute ball, it was fantastic. The performances were great and all the students and every school did so well and proudly represented their marae and their iwi," she said.
The new talent section called Ngahau was a highlight of the two-day event on Wednesday and Thursday.
"The talent section was highly engaging. We had traditional singing and Harry Potter skits. It was well-received and I hope it continues at future festivals," she said.
Ms Paul said thousands of people turned up and the school's Year 13 statistics class were yet to confirm the number of festival attendees.
She said this year's theme was "Kaitiakitanga - tiakina te reo, tiakina te whenua, tiakina te tangata". Tiakina te reo was about guarding language, so the event had bilingual MCs and a sign language interpreter. Tiakina te whenua was about looking after the environment and tiakina te tangata was about looking after people.