Kawhia Kai Festival announces MC and entertainment lineup

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  • General admission: $5.00
  • Family pass (2 adults & up to 4 children: $15.00
  • Under 5s: $0.00
  • Door Sales Only
  • Booking fees may apply

Te Arawa FM radio presenter Kingi Biddle will be introducing a full-days lineup of entertainment for next years Kawhia Kai Festival being held on Saturday, February 5.

All coming from the Waikato region, the lineup includes six-piece band NRG Rising, Zionhill, Tasty Brown, Stingray, Kotuku Entertainers, soloist Tania Smith, rappers Statik-West and hip hop artists Shine Forum.

The 10,000 visitors expected for the 2011 Kai Festival will also enjoy more than two hours of kapahaka performed by three Waikato regional kapahaka groups – Ngati Mahanga Whanui from Whatawhata, Nga Mauri Taniwha from Hamilton, and a young kapahaka group from Te Awamutu Intermediate School.

Kingi Biddle will kick off the action at 9am on Kawhias Omiti Reserve with a mihi whakatau welcome and blessing and says he is already in training for his role.


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I will bring all my master-chef skills with me so my taste buds are up to the challenge, says Kingi who is of Te Arawa Mataatua iwi descent.

I have heard so much about the delicious Koki (shark liver pate) that I have been in training to ensure I am at the peak of physical fitness when I try it.

Kingi says he has already tried Kanga Wai/Pirau (fermented corn) and may well be tempted to sample this delicacy and acquired taste again.

Being held on Saturday, February 5 as part of the nations Waitangi Day celebrations, next years Festival is expecting more than 25 stalls offering traditional Maori food as well as more than 20 displaying traditional Maori arts & crafts such as weaving and carving, says Festival organiser Hinga Whiu.

We are adding another flavour to this years Festival by creating a traditional Maori village dcor around the site including fences made from manuka and a waharoa (gateway), says Hinga.

As hangi is always the big favourite with visitors, five local Kawhia marae are putting down hangi for the Festival to ensure there will be enough for all. And in the weeks leading up to the Festival, more than 2,500 traditional kono food baskets will be woven from flax to serve up the hangi.

Kono made from harakeke (flax) are the traditional way Maori served food, explains Hinga.

All the harakeke is sourced locally in Kawhia which is renowned with weavers for its sturdy variety. Whole families will get together to weave food baskets so it becomes an opportunity for them to pass on traditional weaving knowledge to the children but also to get together and have a good korero (talk).

Held on Omiti Reserve by the shores of the tranquil Kawhia Harbour on the west coast of New Zealands North Island, the Festival is a unique celebration of Maori cuisine and is rated by The Lonely Planet Travel Guide as one of the top ten must see Maori experiences for visitors to visit.

Attracting New Zealanders of all ages and backgrounds, gate entry will be $5 for adults and children over 5, while a family pass for two adults and up to four children will cost $15.

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