More than 400 Maori cultural performers from Taranaki and Whanganui are in Hawera competing for a place to represent the Aotea region on the national stage in Rotorua next year.
Ten kapa haka groups from Waitara to Ratana have been polishing their moves and tuning their voices to stand tall and impress the 16 judges and wow the audience with their waiata and haka at the bi-annual event.
Aotea Maori Performing Arts Committee chairperson, Kamaka Manuel, says there is a sense of pride and enthusiasm among all of the roopu (groups) involved.
All the time and commitment teams put in to their preparation certainly inspires them to do their best with the ultimate outcome of representing the Aotea rohe at Te Matatini festival in Rotorua next year, he says.
Mr Manuel says he knows all teams will be eyeing up his group Te Reanga Morehu o Ratana who are the current regional champions.