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Historic Kapa Haka Recordings to be Broadcast at Te Matatini Festival

Connecting the past and present, the harmonies and kapa haka of past decades will be broadcast alongside the live performances of 2017’s Te Matatini Festival in Hastings, 22 to 26 February.

Radio Kahungunu and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision have delved into the Ngā Taonga Kōrero Collection, which contains more than 12,000 items of Māori audio taonga recorded by RNZ, dating back to the 1940s.

They have gathered a rich history of recordings from past kapa haka festivals, including the last festival hosted in Hastings back in 1983.

"The style is 'old school' and while kapa haka has really changed, the quality of the audio from 1983 is incredible – as good as today," says Te Iwa Tamaki, Kairokiroki Irirangi Māori Archivist at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

"You can hear the voices of great orators and performers of the past, like Wiremu Kerekere, and listen to teams that many people may not have heard for decades."

"We’re thrilled that Radio Kahungunu can bring these voices from the past back to te ao Māori during the radio station’s live broadcasts from Te Matatini."

Radio Kahungunu’s Chairperson Dr Joseph Te Rito says:

"We are privileged to have access to this wonderful treasure trove of kapa haka sound recordings, and to be able to broadcast them during Te Matatini. We highly commend Ngā Taonga for their efforts and look forward to hearing the voices of our ancestors over the airwaves."

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s work with Radio Kahungunu is part of a wider project with 21 iwi radio stations across the country, funded by Te Māngai Pāho. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision's expert services ensure that iwi radio collections are digitised and archived, as an important record for people now and in the future.

Visitors to Te Matatini will also be able to watch New Zealand's earliest films of kapa haka in a programme presented by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision at the festival’s corporate village. The audiovisual programme includes the earliest surviving film of kapa haka from 1901, a 1918 film of the civic reception and haka for the Māori Battalion returning from WWI and performances at Waitangi from the 1930s, and more.

Click here to listen to some of the historic recordings from the 1983 New Zealand Polynesian Festival of Arts, held in Hastings.