Rotorua's Chey and Kahurangi Milne are mixing work and play at this year's Te Matatini, standing in front of a camera for 11 hours a day, presenting the event.

The four-day event, running until Sunday in Wellington, is expected to attract more than 60,000 spectators.

"Starting off we are in makeup from about 6am, then we are in hot cams meaning we are ready to go in front of the camera and lighting and then 8.30am the broadcast starts," Kahurangi said.

"Then we are on air until about 7pm or 8pm and it all starts again the next day."


Kahurangi said it was long days but was worth it once the rōpū start performing.

Kahurangi Maxwell performing. Photo / File
Kahurangi Maxwell performing. Photo / File

Six groups from Te Arawa are competing at Te Matatini, with the official theme, "Te Matatini ki te Ao", meaning "Te Matatini to the world".

It is the third time the couple has presented the biennial event along with Mātai Smith for the Māori Television exclusive live broadcast.

Kahurangi said she was drawn to the event year after year because it allowed her to remain part of the kaupapa.

She decided to take a step back from performing at competition level after her mother, Atareta Maxwell - a long-time champion kapa haka performer, died suddenly in 2007.

"I interview all of the leaders backstage so it is pretty much just a big catch-up for me which is awesome."

Kahurangi said she always looked forward to the surprise element or the group that had been knocking on the door for years and had finally got in.

"In Te Arawa in particular, one thing I am looking forward to seeing is Ngāti Whakaue performing at Te Matatini for the first time in years.

"Hopefully seeing new groups make that top nine, those are the sorts of exciting things that we get to look forward to at Te Matatini."

Kahurangi Maxwell (left) and Chey Milne (right) and their 3-year-old daughter Atareta Milne-Maxwell in 2013. Photo / File
Kahurangi Maxwell (left) and Chey Milne (right) and their 3-year-old daughter Atareta Milne-Maxwell in 2013. Photo / File

Her husband Chey joked he was excited to go to Te Matatini for free again and appreciated the opportunity to interact with a variety of "Māoridom superstars".

Being his third time presenting he doesn't find it nerve-racking but knowing that potential millions are watching it either live or after the event reminds him of the responsibility he has.

"The responsibility is that we need to do it to a high calibre to represent our whānau, hapu, iwi and indeed Māoridom to the best of our ability."

But he said the presenters were not the superstars, the kaihaka (performers) were and his job was to share the "vibe and energy" of Te Matatini.

He said it was awesome working with his wife because it provided support they both needed after such long days.

"It is awesome that we have got each other to bounce off whether we have little ideas or whether it is just being able to not talk about kapa haka."