Te Arawa’s successful Te Matatini groups will give a free outdoor concert next weekend - the day after Lakeside 25 to create a “memorable double header”.
Organisers have decided to showcase the success of the six Te Arawa kapa haka groups who performed at last weekend’s Te Matatini by putting on a free concert on Sunday, March 12, using the same big stage at the Village Green.
Some strings have been pulled and now the performing arts groups are to piggyback off the stage already being set for the Lakeside 25 concert on Saturday, March 11.
Te Arawa Kapa Haka chairman Trevor Maxwell, who is also a trustee of the Rotorua Lakeside Charitable Trust, said he approached trust chairman Ian Edward and asked if they could make it happen.
“We agreed if we didn’t do this, it would be a lost opportunity. It’s going to be a beautiful bumper weekend.”
Lakeside 25 will celebrate 25 years of Lakeside concerts in Rotorua and will again end with a fireworks extravaganza.
It promises to be another spectacular show with top acts Ardijah, Che Fu and Troy Kingi headlining the popular outdoor concert that will also feature the best of local performers.
Crowds are expected to flock to the concert as it’s the first time it will be held since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of the last two concerts.
Maxwell said he and Te Arawa Kapa Haka treasurer Watu Mihinui made some calls and got extra funding from generous sponsors to help pay for the stage and equipment to remain in Rotorua another night. The final “green light” was given late on Friday afternoon.
Maxwell said he was so thrilled it had come together because it gave locals a chance to see in person the amazing work that had gone into the six groups’ performances and to experience why they were named among the best.
An important part of Sunday’s concert, which will be held from 11am until about 4.30pm, is a collection for the victims of Cyclone Gabrielle.
Sunday’s concert has the support of all six Te Arawa kapa haka groups that will perform a grand finale together at the end of the day.
Maxwell said the groups were worth celebrating because Te Arawa dominated the finals stage with five out of six teams being among the 12 finalists, the first time the iwi has had such dominance in Te Matatini’s 50-year history.
The five Te Matatini finalists were Te Pikikōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai, Te Hekenga Ā Rangi, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Te Mātarae I Ōrehu and Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue. Although Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao missed out on the finals by the narrowest of margins, the group came away with the sought-after award for overall best poi.
Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue was the top performing Te Arawa group coming overall runner-up equal with Whangara Mai Tawhiti from Te Tai Rāwhiti while Te Whānau-a-Apanui from Mātaatua was named the overall winner.
Edward told the Rotorua Daily Post Sunday’s kapa haka concert was an outstanding addition to the weekend.
“It will make it a memorable double header and our trust is delighted to help facilitate the performance of the highly successful kapa haka teams. This is just again another opportunity for Rotorua to showcase the outstanding performers and entertainers we have in our community.”
Edward said the Rotorua Lakefront was looking “magnificent” following its redevelopment and it was a thrill to have the concerts on both days right next door, on the Village Green.
“This will be a fantastic way we can showcase the elements of why we choose to live here in Rotorua. It is about us having collective pride in our city and its people.”