Editorial: Nothing like kapa haka live in Rotorua

By Greg Taipari

There is nothing sweeter than the sound of piupiu (flax skirts) swaying in unison.

Add to this the majestic voices of 40 kapa haka performers in unison and you know you are resting in the arms of papatuanuku (mother earth) and the realm of Te Matatini o te Ra (national kapa haka festival).

It has been 17 years since the nationals have been held in Rotorua. Te Arawa are world renowned for their culture and there is no more fitting place to hold a kapa haka festival than our beautiful city.

Today the last four Te Arawa groups stand among their peers to represent their iwi. However, for one of them the journey to kapa haka glory will come to an end - with only three teams from the three pools going through to tomorrow's final.

No matter what the result every performer at this year's event has done himself or herself and his or her iwi proud.

If there is one thing I've noticed in the sweltering heat of this year's event - it's hard not to get emotional for performers and those who have come to watch it at the Rotorua International Stadium.



Despite the great work done by Maori Television to bring each performance live to every home in New Zealand, watching it on TV doesn't compare with watching it live.

When you think about the endless hours a group has spent preparing for its 30 minutes on stage, it is little wonder you get such a range of emotions - from pride and joy to tears and laughter.

We are blessed in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to be able to hold a festival that celebrates our Maori culture and, of course, our Maori language.

This reminds me of a well-known whakatauki (proverb):

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria (My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul).

- Rotorua Daily Post

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