Three of Northland's top secondary school kapa haka groups are putting their skills to the test at a national competition this week.

Kaitaia's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rangi Aniwaniwa, Kaikohe's Northland College and Whangarei's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rawhiti Roa are competing at the three-day National Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Competition held at the Pettigrew Green Arena in Napier.

The three Northland groups earned their place in the national competition at the Tai Tokerau Secondary School Kapa Haka Regionals held in September last year.

The national festival, which kicked off yesterday, will see 39 teams compete in three pools over three days. Each pool is made up of 13 teams and each pool day will be divided into three sessions.

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The competition will follow a similar format to the national Te Matatini competition with the top three in each pool going to a final-nine performance on Friday.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rangi Aniwaniwa and Northland College performed yesterday while Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rawhiti Roa will perform on Thursday.

- Northlanders who cannot make it down to watch the competition in person can watch a livestream of the event at www.maoritelevision.com/tv/shows/nga-kapa-haka-kura-tuarua-o-aotearoa-2016.