Around 5000 people attended yesterday’s powhiri to welcome the 42 teams and supporters to the four day festival at Te Waiohika Estate in Gisborne.
Crowd favourites Te Whananu a Apanui open the event at 9am.
Waihirere, who perform after lunch, will be the sentimental favourites along with Waka Huia, because of the recent death of Pemia Wehi who had so much to do with both teams.
Meanwhile the thousands of attendees at this week’s Te Matatini festival near Gisborne will see not just the best in Maori performing arts but some spectacular sculptures as well.
Organising committee member Willie te Aho says the grounds of the Waiohika Estate in Gisborne have been dressed with pou created by students from Tairawhiti Polytech’s school of Maori art and design under the direction of Derek Lardelli.
The 60 pou tipuna incorporate photos of great Tairawhiti leaders of the past, including Sir Apirana Ngata, Te Kani te Ua and Wiremu Kerekere.
Competition will start at 9am with crowd favourites te Whanau a Apanui first on stage.