Kelly Makiha is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Opinion: Matatini well worth the effort - performing and viewing

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Te Piki Kotuku o Rongomai at last year's Te Arawa regional competition. PHOTO/FILE
Te Piki Kotuku o Rongomai at last year's Te Arawa regional competition. PHOTO/FILE

Right now hundreds of cultural performers throughout the Bay of Plenty are nervously waiting in anticipation for their big moment to shine.

Next weekend in Hastings, Te Matatini 2017 will showcase the best kapa haka performers the country has to offer.

It's the biggest event on the Maori calendar and to see these performances live is simply spectacular.

Every two years the national competition, Te Matatini, is held, with regional competitions held every other year to pick the top groups from each rohe (tribal area).

Two years ago, three Bay of Plenty teams took the top two spots - Mataatua groups Te Kapa Haka o Te Whanau-a-Apanui and Opotiki Mai Tawhiti were first and second with Te Arawa's Te Matarae i Orehu sharing second place.

No doubt next weekend that gentle rivalry that has always existed in the Bay of Plenty will still be there with both iwi wanting to be named the best.

The standard of performances you see at this event is indescribable. The thousands of hours of rehearsals that go into making each group's 30-minute segment stand out from the rest is a huge credit to every performer.

For most, summer hasn't been about barbecues, drinks, holidays or spending weekends at the beach. It's been about practice, fitness and perfecting that performance.

The best part about Te Matatini is Maori pride. There's no protest, there's no hate and there's no political motives.

Whether you are Maori or Pakeha, it's worth experiencing this event - or at the least watching the live coverage on television.

You will get a glimpse into the pride these performers have at being Maori and the emotion of keeping their ancestors' traditions alive.

Good luck Te Arawa groups - Ngati Rangiwewehi, Te Piki Kotuku o Ngati Rongomai, Te Matarae I Orehu, Te Hikuwai and Tuhourangi: Ngati Wahiao - and Mataatua groups - Waioweka, Tauira Mai Tawhiti, Tutara Kauika ki Rangataua, Te Kapa Haka o Ruatoki, Te Kapa Haka o Te Whanau-a-Apanui and Opotiki Mai Tawhiti.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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