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Watch: Proud Kiwis with intellectual disabilities take part in IHC's first kapa haka competition

Hundreds of first time kapa haka performers have taken to the stage in Hamilton at a competition that aims to give those with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to showcase their poi and haka skills.

The inaugural national kapa haka festival for people with intellectual disabilities is the IHC's first national event.

Tutor of North Shore's Te Rakipaewhenua kapa haka group, Jovita Reddy, says the competition is more about the spirit of the event than aiming to win.

"For us it's not about how good you are or whether you're in sync or coordinated, its more about the wairua for us," Jovita told 1 NEWS.

There are 300 performers across 15 teams, all of them from the North Island.

They've bought their supporters and there were some proud whānau members here today

"It makes us feel as if she's got a normal life participating in activity everyone else can and it's very emotional as a mum," one of the performer's mother's said.

Organisers hope groups will be welcome in other local competitions.

For now, the fun's not over, as tonight there's a dinner and disco for all of the performers.

The festival is designed to give those with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to showcase their poi and haka skills. Source: 1 NEWS