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The inspiring minds of kapa haka

With Matariki 16 comes the highly anticipated Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Kapa Haka Super 12s, a unique event that presents the traditional art of kapa haka in a fresh and innovative way. 

The competition kicks off with teams of 12, battling it out for 12 minutes to impress the judges and win the top prize of $12,000.

The teams are encouraged to draw inspiration from their cultural roots and create a high-energy stage performance that showcases their unique interpretation of traditional Māori performing arts.

With full creative reign over the performance, the teams capture and blend traditional and modern elements of Māori performance including poi, waiata and haka to create innovative kapa haka. 

For the first time Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Kapa Haka Super 12s is open to secondary school students, giving them the opportunity to go head to head with more experienced teams.

Chair of Auckland Council’s Arts Committee Alf Filipaina says the Kapa Haka Super 12s is always one of the main highlights of the Matariki Festival.

"The teams have the creative license to produce a high-energy stage performance with no limits, you can’t help but sit on the edge of your seat," he says.

The competition is just one of over 100 events put on by Auckland Council as part of the month-long Matariki Festival, from 18 June to 17 July, 2016.