Kapa Haka a national treasure to be valued

Researching the benefits of kapa haka to the New Zealand society has helped shape the 10-year plan for the Te Matatini Society as it continues to develop one of our national treasures.

Ministry of Culture and Heritage Senior Policy Advisor Arts Sector Mary Donn says, “Kapa haka is part of who we are as New Zealanders it's an iconic New Zealand art form and that's what the world sees when they think New Zealand.”

Te Matatini Society Executive Director Carl Ross says, “It helps men in their families as they support they partners, the flow on effect is it helps women to be strong on the stage as well as to stand on their own two feet.”

The contribution that kapa haka makes to society was examined in a specially commissioned report called Ngā Hua o Tāne Rore.

“The value of kapa haka is in healthy lifestyles, it's in educational achievement, entrepreneurial activity, it's in all those other things that come as part of the benefits of kapa haka they contribute to New Zealand as a whole,” says Donn.

Māori musician Rob Ruha says, “What I'm saying is the doors are always open to everyone to come in, but the most important thing is that non-Māori have a passion for it when they enter those doors.”

The research has helped to drive key strategies for Te Matatini.

Ross says, “It helps with how funding is managed to support the groups that perform on stage, that is the challenge for us, something that we are focusing on developing in our 10-year plan.”

Research into the benefits of kapa haka have now also extended into national surveys with Statistics New Zealand and Sport New Zealand.