Haka fever is in full swing in the Mataatua region, not only with the competitors but also with the event managers. The small community of Ruatoki hosted the thousands who attended the recent Tūhoe festival, giving them a taste of visitor numbers expected to attend this weekend.
The quiet community of Ruatoki is back to the grind again.
Chairman of Te Komiti o Runga, Patrick McGarvey, says, “We’ve been preparing for two days. Everything is in place so the event can run smoothly.”
Just two weeks ago, they hosted their biennial tribal festival, Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe. Now they are hosting the Mātaatua Kapa Haka Regionals.
McGarvey says, “Support from the wider Tūhoe region made it easier.”
The last regional event took place in Tauranga in 2014. This year, 21 teams are performing over two days.
Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti supporter Thomas Mitai is excited to see a returning team, “One of the new groups is Waioeka from Whakatōhea. Waioeka-Nui-a-Kiwa has returned. They won this event many years ago.”
King Tuheitia is also expected to attend the event on Sunday following tomorrow's Tainui regionals.
Tūhoe will welcome all teams tomorrow.