After three days of competition between 39 kapa haka groups, the final day of the National Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Festival will see nine vie for the title.

Since opening with a powhiri on Monday, Pettigrew-Green Arena has been swamped this week with about 1600 young competitors in the festival.

Yesterday the final pool of 13 teams competed before nine finalists - comprising three teams from each pool - were announced last night.

Tainui representative Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga will have a chance to defend their title against teams from around New Zealand.

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They include Ngā Taiātea, also representing the Tainui region, Raukura, a group from Rotorua Boys' and Rotorua Girls' High schools, and Nga puna o waiorea from Western Springs College in Auckland.

Te Maurea Whiritoi, a group of students from Hamilton Boys' and Hamilton Girls' High schools will also compete for the title, as will Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae from Tamaki Makaurau, Te Piringa with students from four schools in the Manawatu/Horowhenua region, a group from Whakatane High School and the Te Manawa Tahi group from the Te Tairawhiti region.

The winner of today will retain the title until the next festival, which will be held in Manawatu in 2018.

The festival, locally named Te Haaro o Te Kaahu, has this year been seen as an entree to biennial national kapa festival Te Matatini in Hastings in February.

The festival was hosted in collaboration with Ngāti Kahungunu, the Napier City Council and the Hastings District Council.

Today's programme:
9am: Ngā Taiātea Wharekura.
9.40am: Raukura.
10.20am: Te Wharekura o Raakaumangamanga.
11am: Ngā Puna o Waiorea.
11.40am: Te Manawatahi.
12.50pm: Te Maurea Whiritoi.
1.30pm: Te Kura Māori o Ngā Tapuwae.
2.10pm: Whakatāne High School.
2.40pm: Te Piringa.