Te Matatini: Te Whānau a Apanui takes top spot in national kapa haka festival

Kapa haka group Te Whānau a Apanui has taken the number one spot at the national kapa haka festival Te Matatini.

They competed fiercely against 11 other groups in front of tens of thousands at Eden Park and to more than a million viewers across the world.

First to grace the stage was Te Hekenga ā Rangi - which was one of three kapa or groups to feature in the final at Te Matatini. Another was Ngāti Whakauae who worked the crowd.

And they were among the other Te Arawa groups, tribes based in the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty areas who secured five spots in Saturday's competition.

Te Matatini chairman Selwyn Parata congratulated all the kapa (teams) by saying "you have demonstrated excellence and showcased the ihi me te wehi - the power and charisma of te ao Māori (Maoridom)".

"Collectively, our combined contributions embody te hā o Te Matatini, the essence that brings Te Matatini to life," he added.

"It enables us to unite and send our thoughts and mihi to our whānau in Te Tai Tokerau, Te Tairāwhiti and Ngāti Kahungunu. Kia tau te ia o te mauri ki a tātau katoa."

Political, health, te reo Māori and gender issues were all kaupapa expressed through various songs and dance at Te Matatini. From trios, duets to solos all hitting top-notch ballads.

The physical stamina and haka stances were showcased by women and men. The calibre of groups and their items were shown, unlike any other Te Matatini.

A stage where performers were proudly Māori.

But as the finals on Saturday began it all came down to each group's final performance.

Taking the top spot was Te Whānau a Apanui which has now been crowned three times as champions of Te Matatini.

They took the 2023 Te Matatini title after four days of competition, uplifting and healing for Māoridom. Finally filling in a four-year void of major kapa haka competition.

The next competition is set to be hosted in the Aotea rohe (territory) - Taranaki - in 2025. A complete winners list will be available on the Te Matatini website.

Te Matatini: Te Whānau a Apanui takes top spot in national kapa haka festival