The Māori Party has promised to invest $29 million into kapa haka - with $19 million to go towards the world's largest kapa haka competition Te Matatini - amid concerns around "funding inequalities" in the arts sector.
Waiariki candidate Rawiri Waititi made the announcement in Opōtiki this morning at the launch of Vote Kapa Vote, a kapa haka concert with a special polling booth aimed at using the power of dance to encourage Māori to vote.
The Māori Party has promised to inject $19 million - up from $1.9 million - into Te Matatini as part of its newly-announced Toi Māori policy. A further $10 million will be invested into community, Hapū and Iwi development of kapa haka.
“Kapahaka is an incredibly powerful kaupapa. It is not just a performing art. It is a platform for the repository of our mātauranga Māori, our reo, our whakapapa, our history," Waititi said.
"Not only that, it supports physical health and mental health, it fosters connection, it teaches teamwork, it teaches problem solving skills, it teaches our people how to build and manage relationships, it fosters resilience and encourages confidence. It is a one-stop shop for oranga and needs to be treated as such."
Waititi said the party's policy is in "direct response" to what they perceived to be "funding inequalities" in the arts sector.
He said that the significant cash injection into Te Matatini was based on the $5 million in funding received by the New Zealand Ballet and $16 million for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, which he called an "absolute insult".
"Kapa haka is the international hallmark of Aotearoa’s identity, we are the best at kapa haka in the world and we receive a measly $1.9 million from the Crown. Its time for change."
The party also promises to establish an independent $57 million Toi Māori entity - funded entirely by the government - which will be dedicated to the protection and projection of all Toi Māori.
It will also stablish a research fund worth $10 million for the purpose of producing an evidence base for how Toi Māori contributes to oranga Māori, with the intention of Toi Māori being funded across all sectors equitably by 2023.