'Haka Translate' makes Matatini inclusive for non-Māori speakers

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Oriini Kaipara, a distinguished performer for Ngā Tūmanako, is on a new path at Te Matatini as a member of the translation team, Haka Translate. The Haka Translate service allows those who may not understand te reo Māori to know the meaning behind the words and compositions at the festival.

“In my opinion, te reo Māori is the main reason behind Te Matatini and even though I'm translating the words into English, it's Māori language that remains at the forefront," says Kaipara. 

“It's only right that everyone should be able to take part in this, but as translators we need to match the quality and depth of the compositions, some of which are intricate in terms of the tribal histories and treasured heritage that is being embodied."

Kaipara has been a long-standing performer at Te Matatini over the years, but this year she's leaving it to her offspring to maintain the tradition after gaining a translators licence from Te Taua Whiri i te Reo Māori in 2018.

"My daughter is performing.  This is her first year, so it's much more important to me that she is supported.  Although you won't see me on stage, I'm at the back helping out," she says. 

Haka Translate doesn't diminish the true substance of the compositions, according to Kaipara. 

“It's a difficult task we have to retain the essence of the Māori words throughout the English translations, to maintain the high standard of excellence of Māori philosophy," she says. 

ANyone wishing to activate the translations can download and navigate the Haka Translate feature on the Te Matatini app.