The most successful kapa haka event in a decade is being hailed by organisers in Wellington.
About 350 people performed at the Wellington Regional Kapa Haka Competition at the Town Hall on Saturday.
The field included young and old, Maori and non-Maori, and performers who hailed from France, Sweden and Britain.
Executive producer Lynda Bradley said it was the first time in a decade that the event had sold out in advance, with all 1400 tickets snapped up by Friday morning.
People were queuing up and down the road for tickets on Friday, which was something she had rarely seen.
"It's exceptional. It really helps when you play to a full house. It lifts the energy levels and has made the performances outstanding."
Three of the teams were competing in their first kapa haka event, while the Ngati Poneke Young Maori Club was in its 75th year, Ms Bradley said.
The nine teams on show were competing for three spots to represent Wellington at the national competition in Rotorua in February.
Yesterday's event was won by the Nga Taonga Mai Tawhiti group from Wainuiomata-Seaview, who will be joined in Rotorua by Hutt Valley-based teams Tu Te Maungaroa and Nga Uri o Tamarau.
Wellington Multicultural Society chairwoman Hema Temara said it was heartening to see a large number of teenagers among the performers, which showed the younger generation continued to embrace kapa haka.
"The warmth, the love and the enthusiasm out there [on stage] is a really encouraging and inspiring thing."
- The Dominion Post
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