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Value of Kapa Haka underrated – research indicates

3 Dec 2014

This content is tagged as Ngā toi Māori .


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Kapa haka is a unique feature of New Zealand society and while its benefits are appreciated the true value has gone unheeded according to new research by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Te Matatini Society Incorporated.

Ngā Hua Ā Tāne Rore, the Benefits of Kapa Haka confirms the important economic, educational and social impacts are generally unstated and undervalued.

We need to turn this around say Lewis Holden Chief Executive Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Darrin Apanui, Executive Director of Te Matatini.

“Undertaken by Te Kotahi Research Institute, Waikato University, the scoping report provides valuable information which our two organisations will work on together with other government agencies to provide the hard evidence of the value add to all New Zealanders from kapa haka,” Lewis Holden said.

“Exclusive to Aotearoa, kapa haka is an indigenous cultural art form which touches the hearts of Māori and non-Māori both here and overseas giving us all a stronger sense of identity.

“On the international stage kapa haka has elevated our national profile which allows us to make strong connections with people from other countries,” Lewis Holden said.

Darrin Apanui adds, “While we all thrill to the bone-chilling demonstrations of mau rākau and the graceful movements of the poi, to date we’ve had no research that specifically documents the depth and breadth of the impact, benefits and value of kapa haka to New Zealand.

“Kapa haka is more than just a performance as demonstrated by this research, it contributes to our national identity, positive health and educational outcomes and contributes to the country’s economic wellbeing. 

“Performers young and old benefit from participating in kapa haka, but the positive health and well-being spinoffs are much greater than at an individual level – the social outcomes of whole communities are often better as a result.

“For Māori youth, kapa haka has a dynamic role in the revitalisation and retention of te reo Māori, tikanga, ritual and history. This is shown by improved learning outcomes for our rangatahi,” Mr Apanui said.

Overall the scoping report shows more needs to be done to ascertain the true economic worth of kapa haka both through its contribution to cultural value and also the extent to which it supports regional economies and the New Zealand economy as a whole through performance activities and the supporting infrastructure required to sustain them.

Both agree the report provides a valuable starting point on which to base further research which ensures kapa haka gets the recognition it deserves.

Ngā Hua Ā Tāne Rore, the Benefits of Kapa Haka research findings were presented by Dr Jillian Tipene and Herearoha Skipper in Wellington today and the report is available on the Ministry for Cultural and Heritage and Te Matatini Society Incorporated websites.