For those on stage at Te Hui Ahurei o Ngā Uri a Atuamatua, it was more than just a performance.
The day-long showcase of Te Arawa kapa haka at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday was a celebration of whānau and whakapapa, an opportunity for both those involved and those watching to take pride in who they are as people.
Te Arawa Kapa Haka Charitable Trust, along with Te Matatini Kapa Haka o Aotearoa, organised the event as a replacement for the 2021 Te Matatini national kapa haka festival, which should have been held last month in Auckland but was postponed a year because of Covid-19.
Ngati Whakaue and Te Arawa kaumātua Monty Morrison, who was event manager when Rotorua hosted Te Matatini in 2013, said Saturday's event was "a tremendous celebration of kapa haka".
"Certainly from my perspective, it's just so wonderful seeing everyone on stage, from the youngest to the eldest," he said.
"This innovation, because of Covid, has provided an opportunity not just for those who couldn't go to nationals but for their children and extended whānau to join them on stage as well. They certainly made the most of the opportunity."
The event featured the six groups which will be representing Te Arawa rohe at Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata, to be held in Auckland from February 22 to 26, 2022.
It also featured the four primary schools representing Te Arawa rohe at a national festival in November in Nelson.
Morrison said a great deal of work went into preparing for the national event and in light of the postponement, it was important to give the various kapa an opportunity to perform what they had worked on.
"It's a year-long commitment for each group. When you multiply that by all the different families involved with each group, that's a tremendous amount of people involved.
"We talk about the opportunity kapa haka gives us in the wider sense, you can't do an event like Te Matatini without a huge level of fitness and commitment. You have to have your body right, your diet right, so the spin-off benefits are huge.
"It is more than a performance, that's the beauty of it. It allows us to tell the stories of our people, sometimes untold stories that are able to be celebrated in this way. The children learn them in the preschools early on and then they have an opportunity like today to perform alongside them."
Te Arawa Kapa Haka Charitable Trust chairman Trevor Maxwell said he was "absolutely thrilled" at how everything had turned out.
"Every performance has been tremendous," he said.
"It's a celebration, like one huge family reunion for Te Arawa. We've involved the kids a lot and they are loving it.
"We're proud that this event is smoke-free, alcohol-free, free entry and free parking. The whole country has been through a lot with Covid-19 so it's great to have a positive day like this."
He said kapa haka taught those involved important values.
"It's family and it's your pride in your tribal roots, your identity. Having travelled the world a lot myself, we don't just dance and sing, it's every emotion. If the young ones growing up say 'hey that's positive, that's something I want to do', then hopefully we're doing our part to make New Zealand a better place."
Ngāti Whakaue kaumātua Norma Sturley and Melissa Temple said it was a "wonderful" day out.
"It's family-orientated," Temple said. "Having everyone on stage, from pepe to kuia, it's not a competition, it's a celebration where everyone can relax and be spontaneous."
Sturley said the children were loving the opportunity.
"They're the ones who are the future generation who will be performing on stage. They'll remember this, they'll be doing it and it's about who we are and at the end of the day we're all family."