National Symposium – Ngā Mana Whakairo a Toi – Celebrating Haka Excellence
Rotorua Convention Centre, 5 November 2012
Hundreds of kapa haka enthusiasts share expertise at national event
Aotearoa’s leading kapa haka icons are being brought together in a major national forum on Māori performing arts in
Rotorua next week.
The one-day symposium Ngā Mana Whakairo a Toi – Celebrating Haka Excellence is being held on Monday, November 5, at the
Rotorua Convention Centre and is expected to attract 600 people.
The symposium is being organised by Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi: indigenous-university in association with Te Matatini Society, the national body for Māori Performing Arts.
Organisers say it is the first national event of this scale and hope it will become an annual event. The aim is to
facilitate a forum to discuss kapa haka issues in an academic arena and allow performing arts enthusiasts to learn
first-hand from leading artists.
A line-up of Aotearoa’s foremost performing arts experts will speak and present a series of workshops and panel
sessions. They include Te Matatini chair Herewini Parata; Tauira Takurua, tutor for Te Hokowhitu a Tu between 2005 and
2011; Ngāti Porou kapa haka expert and Te Matatini judge Kuini Reedy; Te Waka Huia tutors Tapeta and Annette Wehi; Te
Matatini haka judge Joe Harawira, of Ngāti Awa; and songstress and kapa haka exponent Maisey Rika. Breakout workshops
will include The Art of Composition, Poi and Taonga Puoro (traditional Māori instruments).
The impetus for the symposium sprang from Awanuiārangi’s Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts (BMPA), which was launched
three years ago and has 715 students enrolled from Kaitaia to Christchurch. BMPA students come from 35 kapa haka, the
majority of which are Te Matatini teams. Bringing together skilled and knowledgable artists from Aotearoa’s vast network
of Māori performing arts would benefit all attendees, organisers said.
The chief executive officer and Vice-Chancellor of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi: indigenous-university, Distinguished Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith, said the struggle to maintain iwi culture was necessarily a
“The symposium is an opportunity to share where we are up to in our various efforts to sustain our living culture,”
Distinguished Professor Smith said.
“This celebration of Mātauranga Māori excellence within the performing and literary arts is significant in the context
of the total ‘Kaupapa Māori’ self-development revolution begun in the 1980s. Kapa haka shares the same philosophy as
other educational and cultural revitalisation initiatives in that it emphasises Māori cultural excellence. It does this
by reinforcing the legitimacy of Māori and iwi knowledge, by utilising culturally preferred pedagogies, and by providing
opportunities for collective and collaborative practices embedded within the cultural notion of whanaungatanga. It also
embraces the practical dimensions of cultural excellence by accentuating the performativity of cultural expertise.”
A black tie dinner will cap off the day at the Convention Centre ballroom. Local artists and BMPA students will provide
the entertainment, which will include Haka Theatre.
For further information, please visit www.wananga.ac.nz