Te Matatini 2019 draws a crowd of over 50,000

The biennial haka festival Te Matatini ki te Ao, seen as one of the most significant cultural events in Aotearoa, drew more than 50,000 people to Pōneke according to the Greater Wellington Regional Council. Despite rain on the final day, festival goers remained in high spirits.



The chairperson of Te Matatini Chris Laidlaw says having the huge kapa haka festival hosted in Wellington lifted the competition to new heights as performers, whānau and fans travelled far and wide and an excellent team of volunteers made sure that they felt welcome.


“Te Matatini showed how we can bring people together and share our language, stories, arts and culture with the world. This was a true international level event.”


With 42 festivals staged since its inception the Westpac Trust Stadium has been by far the biggest venue yet- drawing in more than 50,000 people to be entertained and wowed by performers from 46 groups.


The choreography was electric and hearty voices rang strong showing why the biennial festival is considered the pinnacle for Māori performing arts.


Overall winners Kapa Ngā Tūmanako from Tāmaki Makaurau took out the overall title at Te Matatini 2019, Te Toa Whakaihuwaka.


The next Te Matatini in 2021 is set to be held in Auckland, marking a two-year-long planning schedule for the next host, Ngāti Whātua, who last hosted in 2002.


Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's Renata Blair says, "It's a big day for us to receive this honour of hosting Tāmaki 2021.


“It's a big day for ourselves, Waikato-Tainui and all the groups of the Auckland region to coordinate the Te Matatini Festival."


Laidlaw says, “Te Matatini should serve as an example for other event organisers on how to bring people into a region and care for them. The council hopes that Te Matatini returns to the region in the future.”


For more photos from the festival head over to the official Facebook page