Train­ing is over, it’s now show­time at Te Mata­tini

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - EL­TON RIKIHANA SMALLMAN

Pack your pi­upiu and board the bus, Te Mata­tini is about to kick off.

From Thurs­day, the best kapa haka groups in the coun­try will stomp the stage at the bi­en­nial se­nior national kapa haka com­pe­ti­tion in Hastings.

Five Waikato groups are trav­el­ling to Hawke’s Bay, hav­ing spent months learn­ing their lines, swing­ing poi and per­fect­ing chore­og­ra­phy for a 25-minute stint in front of the judges.

Ngati Raukawa group Mo­tai Tan­gata Rau have been at it since late Septem­ber and leader of Paraone Gloyne said per­form­ers make huge sac­ri­fices along the way. ’’It’s been a pretty in­tense slog,’’ Gloyne said.

En­tire week­ends, be­tween 15 and 20 of them, are given up to liv­ing out of a suit­case in a com­mu­nal set­ting of 50 or more peo­ple - all of them eat­ing, sleep­ing and train­ing to­gether.

Sum­mer hol­i­days can be cut short. Long week­ends don’t ex­ist and non­per­form­ing fam­ily mem­bers be­come ‘‘haka wid­ows’’ or ‘‘haka or­phans’’ through­out the cam­paign. So ex­pec­ta­tions are high, Gloyne said.

‘‘You don’t spend all of those bloody week­ends slog­ging away, make all those sac­ri­fices and com­mit­ment just to go and par­tic­i­pate. We’re go­ing to com­pete.’’

Waikato groups also trav­el­ling to Hastings are Te Iti Kahu­rangi and Te Kaa­heru Mata­rau o Ngati Hauaa from Ngati Hauaa, Nga Pou o Roto from Huntly and Te Pou o Man­gatawhiri from Ngaru­awahia.

Forty-seven kapa haka teams from New Zealand and Aus­tralia will com­pete in three pools from Thurs­day to Satur­day. The top nine, three from each pool, go through to a fi­nal shootout on Sun­day.

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