Competition starts on Tuesday morning in the national secondary schools Kapa Haka challenge being held in Whangarei.
The organisers say a record 2000 young people, from 44 schools, are taking part in the biennial event, making it the biggest to date.
Whangarei marae and schools are billeting most of the kapa haka groups and their supporters, who have come from far afield.
Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples opened the event at Kensington stadium on Monday.
The event is open to the public.