Muriwhenua Kapa Haka will perform a special new haka, Ko te Wharetapu o Muriwhenua, at the national championships, Te Matatini, that start in Hastings today.

"The haka makes a stance against all the bad publicity making us look like the centre of harm in New Zealand. So we want to paint a picture that this is not our house, this is not the house left to us by our tupuna," kaihaka Thomas Strickland said.

Hatea Kapa haka and Te Puu Ao groups are also taking part in Te Matatini from Te Tai Tokerau.

The Muriwhenua roopu (group) includes participants from Ngati Kuri, Ngai Takoto, Ngati Kahu, Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa, who developed the haka around sustainable hauora (health), leading to a collective stance against drug use, gambling harm, unhealthy food and smoking.


"The organisers of Te Matatini have been leading the way in healthy lifestyles promotion, and it's a perfect fit for the new Muriwhenua haka," said Anthony Hawke, general manager of Maori Public Health for Hapai Te Hauora.

"We congratulate Te Matatini for once again running an event without alcohol or tobacco, and with healthy food and beverage options. As the premier showcase for Maori performing arts it's a great opportunity to role model hauora Maori as well."

The championships, which begin today, are being contested by a record 47 teams from New Zealand and Australia, nine of which will contest the finals on Sunday.

Hatea Kapa Haka will compete at 9.17am today; Te Puu Ao at 4.18pm today and Muriwhenua at 4.18pm tomorrow.

Meanwhile Te Matatini is collecting data and supporting research into kapa haka communities and the economic effect and contribution kapa haka makes to social, cultural and economic outcomes.

"We plan to build a strong evidence base that highlights kapa haka as an attractive investment," chief executive Carl Ross said.

In 2015 the festival had generated $6 million for the Christchurch economy. The previous festival in Rotorua pumped $7.8m into the region.

Market research to define the kapa haka market, identify investment opportunities and develop an investment policy was under way, Mr Ross is expecting that research to reveal, for example, what merchandise and promotional products should be pursued as potential revenue streams.