Today, the first of 13 regional kapa haka competitions kicks off in Wellington.

It's where groups qualify for next year’s Te Matatini.

Nine teams will be competing in Wellington's Regionals.

According to organiser Te Teira Davis, they will be using the event as a test run for hosting the nationals in 2019.

“We are excited for tomorrow. That spirit – that unity and the family of performers can come and support, watch and be a backbone for the region of Wellington.”

The organisers will also be running the Te Matatini competition next year.

“This event will serve as a foundation for the main event. Our region is excited for Te Matatini that is happening next year. So this will serve as a way to get the groups prepared right through to the council.  If they come tomorrow, they may be able to feel the spirit and get a glimpse as to what to expect at Te Matatini.”

Three teams will qualify for Te Matatini. Davis says the groups are ready for the big time.

“I don’t want to say any names, but Tu Te Maungaroa is my team. But all the teams are great. I’ve been to see some and support them as they train and they are very strong. They are preparing right through to when they perform.”

The competition will kick off at 9 am.