Te Papa hosts Kaumātua Kapa Haka

Kaumatua in the capital

Taranaki Ki Te Tonga joined hundreds of Kaumatua from around the country for a Kapa Haka festival like no other at Wellington’s Te Papa national museum on Saturday, June 25.

The annual event, which serves as a celebration of Matariki, is in its 11th year and our South Taranaki Kaumatua of performers, all over the age of 50, have frequented the stage since its inception.

The weekend-long event showcased tribal waiata and haka in what organisers called the biggest Kaumatua Kapa Haka ever.

Tutor Anne Kershaw said the ever-growing yearly celebration was a chance to enjoy each other’s company, and keep our history alive.

“It is not competitive. It is about sharing our songs from bygone years,” she said.

Anne said Kaumātua Kapa Haka gave them a chance to share their experience, knowledge and love of kapa haka with other generations.

And the performers provide a living link between 20th century composers such as Tuini Ngawai and Ngoi Pewhairangi, with today’s generation.

“It’s about celebrating ourselves, celebrating the composers of that bygone era and just keeping it alive for future generations.”

Anne said the real joy was meeting with old friends from around the motu

“We had a wonderful time.

“The event really is growing and they really looked after us down there.”

The audience included people from China, France and the US, and the event was livestreamed online.

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