Te Matatini Ki Te Ao arrived in Te Whanganui ā Tara today, with a pōwhiri to welcome the competing kapa to the capital city ahead of four days of competition at Westpac Stadium.
The visiting teams were welcomed to a windy Waitangi Park in the central city by mana whenua Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa and Te Ātiawa me ngā iwi o Taranaki Whānui.
There were tears, laughter and applause as thousands of performers, supporters, friends and whānau came together to launch the world’s biggest celebration of Māori performing arts.
From tomorrow, 46 teams from around the country and Australia will battle it out for the right to be named champions of Te Matatini 2019 and claim the highly esteemed Duncan McIntyre Trophy.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has kaimahi and tauira representing the hau kainga along with competing, working behind the scenes, judging, organising or simply supporting their favourite kapa.
Te Taiurungi Te Ururoa Flavell took part in the pōwhiri fresh from riding more than 500km from Rotorua in support of the Smear Your Mea/Ride for Talei campaign, launched in memory of Talei Morrison, who died from cervical cancer last year.
Talei was a member of Te Mātārae i Ōrehu and a highly-regarded kapa haka performer.
The first group to take the stage tomorrow is Te Reanga Mōrehu o Ratana at 8.40am.