17 Feb 2011

Big turnout expected at national kapa haka festival

9:50 am on 17 February 2011

Thousands of people are expected to attend the national kapa haka festival which is underway in Gisborne.

Te Matatini o te Ra began on Wednesday with a powhiri to welcome the 42 teams and their supporters.

About 5000 people attended the powhiri.

As well as the best of Maori performing arts, some spectacular sculptures will also be on display.

Organising committee member Willie te Aho says the grounds of Waiohika Estate have been dressed with pou, or totem-pole like structures, created by students from Tairawhiti Polytechnic's school of Maori art and design.

The pou incorporate photos of great Tairawhiti leaders of the past, including Sir Apirana Ngata, Te Kani te Ua and Wiremu Kerekere.

The festival runs until Sunday.