Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Te Matatini kapa haka festival prepares back-up plans

Originally published by Māori Television

Te Matatini organisers have developed three backup plans ranging from delays to cancellations in case Covid-19 affects Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata National Kapa Haka Festival 2022 - and they want everyone involved to get vaccinated before they come.

They say they are seriously looking to the future, and what that might mean for the festival. One of the options is holding a virtual Te Matatini Festival, but they intend to explore other options as well.

This is the 50th anniversary of Te Matatini's biennial festival, which is scheduled to run from February 22 to 26 at Eden Park (Ngā Ana Wai) in Tāmaki Makaurau.

With Covid-19 stopping the country in its tracks and disrupting the 2020 festival, Te Matatini's organising committee has developed backup plans should alert levels change leading up to the festival period.

"We know this is a favourite time of year in the Māori events calendar – whānau from all over the motu come together to celebrate the very best of kapa haka," chairman Selwyn Parata says.

Get whānau vaccinated

"We want to ensure that the health and wellbeing of everyone involved in Te Matatini – from the volunteers to the performers and whānau that come to support – is protected.

"This is the time to ensure our loved ones are safe, so we are encouraging everyone to get themselves and their whānau vaccinated."

Te Matatini's organising committee has developed three scenarios – Plan A, B and C – in case of any alert level changes.

"These scenarios allow us to move forward with confidence should there be a disruption while ensuring we tiakina te whakapapa and support our kapa haka," chief executive Carl Ross says.

"Behind the scenes, our kapa haka practise day and night to achieve absolute excellence on the Te Matatini stage. That's why we want to give our teams and whānau certainty of how the plans will roll out."

Plan A - Prepare

Organisers say the festival will go ahead if the whole country is at alert level 1 on Friday, October 29, 2021. The decision date allows kapa haka teams enough time to prepare in the lead-up to the festival.

The health and safety team who helped plan the operations for the America's Cup Regatta in Tāmaki Makaurau in March 2021 will also lend their expertise to assist Te Matatini during this time.

All people who enter the stadium will be required to sign in, whether that be via the Covid Tracer App, or manually recording.

Everyone who buys a ticket through the only certified ticket vendor for the festival – Ticketmaster – will be required to provide a full name, valid email address and contact number to ensure swift contact tracing.

Plan B – Reduce

If on Friday, October 29, 2021, the whole country is at alert level 2 or higher, Te Matatini Festival will be postponed to April 2022 at Eden Park (Ngā Ana Wai) in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Te Matatini is working with its venue partners at Eden Park (Ngā Ana Wai) to confirm a date in April, and will keep everyone updated as plans progress.

Plan C – Lockdown

If on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, the whole country is at alert level 2 or higher, Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata National Kapa Haka Festival 2022 will be cancelled for one year and moved out to February 2023.

It will remain at Eden Park (Ngā Ana Wai). A new round of regional competitions will be held in 2022 to decide the new qualifying kapa haka teams for the festival in 2023 in Tāmaki Makaurau.

• For more information on vaccinations – how to book an appointment, drive-through locations and where to go to receive your vaccine within your region, please visit the Covid-19 website.

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