Te Matatini ki te Ao, the national kapa haka festival, begins with a powhiri at Waitangi Park on Wednesday. At least 5,000 people are expected at the event, which officially welcomes the 46 teams to Wellington.
There will be heavy traffic and parking restrictions from 7am to 3pm in that area. Many will be arriving by coach or van, so parking on Cable St, and at the Wilson car park on Cable Street, and the Council car parks in Barnett St and Herd St will be unavailable for the public on Wednesday 20 February, from 6am until midnight.
“Piki mai ki Pōneke! Welcome to all the performers and supporters here for Te Matatini,” Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says.
“The opening powhiri will be a wonderful public observance of Māori culture and tikanga. It is being held in a public space, but I ask that those in the area respect the tikanga and mana of the event.”
The four-day festival begins on Thursday at 8am, with gates opening at 7am. This may cause an increase in traffic around the stadium during the morning peak time.
There will also be no public parking available at the stadium from February 21 to 24. For those people wishing to attend the event over the weekend, the Council’s Clifton Terrace car park will be open, along with the Ballantrae Place car park, and people can park there and walk to the stadium.
All regular users of the parking at the stadium and near Cable St will be advised of the restrictions. Fans and performers heading to Te Matatini are encouraged to use public transport.
Performers and volunteers at Te Matatini will be able to travel to and from the competition, and around the region, for free on all Metlink train and bus services. Simply show the bus driver or train manager your official Te Matatini event lanyard.
“The stadium is uniquely located in Pōneke at the heart of our public transport systems and our walkable city,” says the Mayor.
“Festival goers are able to hikoi, pahikara, or catch te tereina or te pahi to get to the stadium. However you choose to travel, please allow plenty of time to grab some kai and find a seat before the great performances begin.”