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Where do you go? Ginny Maxwell, Ngā Taonga mai Tawhiti

14 Feb 2019

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Ginny Maxwell

Wainuiomata local, Ginny Maxwell, grew up around kapa haka – it's entrenched in her family, part of her DNA. She has taught countless schoolkids and enthusiastic New Zealanders, traveled the world as an accomplished performer, and is set to take the stage with the team she tutors – Ngā Taonga mai Tawhiti – at Te Matatini later this month.

We chatted to her about the upcoming festival, her favourite spots around Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington), and why she's excited to represent her region.

What part of Wellington do you live in and what do you love most about it?

I live in Wainuiomata. I love being close to my family  it’s really handy having help nearby when I need to create items for a competition. There's also lots of awesome walking tracks, including Wainuiomata Hill, which has a wonderful lookout across Wellington Harbour. 

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Views from East Harbour Regional Park

Tell us about your involvement with Te Matatini this year? 

I'm a tutor Of Ngā Taonga Mai Tawhiti based in Lower Hutt and we are one of three teams who will be representing the wider Wellington region at this year’s Te Matatini. Preparing our group for competition has been the biggest part of the build-up, along with helping our hosting committee (He Kupenga Toi Manawa – The Wellington Maori Cultural Society) to get organised for the festival.

What aspect of the festival are you most looking forward to?

Performing. I'm really excited to stand on home turf and represent the Wellington region at this year's festival. We train so hard leading up to the competition and it’s so satisfying when we finally reach the point where we're waiting to go on stage. 

For those who haven’t been to Te Matatini before, what can they expect?

A great day out, a huge amount of energy and a true sense of Māoritanga.

Te Matatini hero
Kapa Haka performers

We'd love to hear more about your exhibition at Te Papa...

The pop-up textile exhibition coincides with Te Matatini and showcases different stories, iconic people and uniforms of senior kapa haka performers from the Wellington region. It opens on 19 February and will be on display for just 24 hours before it is transported to Westpac Stadium to adorn the corporate lounge areas for the duration of the festival.

Your life includes a lot of music, dance and performance – where do you get your inspiration?  

The inspiration I get comes from growing up in the kapa haka world; being around iconic leaders such as Dr's Ngapo and Pimia Wehi; and as a teacher, seeing the wonderful changes kapa haka brings to people and their families.

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The Little Waffle Shop

Do you have a couple of favourite joints around Welly where you love to eat?

The Little Waffle Shop and Mama Brown – I love the atmosphere and food. 

Where do you take out-of-towners who are visiting Wellington for the first time?

Mount Vic if it's a nice day, and Owhiro Bay. Te Papa is also a favourite – I love how everything is so interactive.

What are your favourite public places around the city?

Odlins Plaza and Lyall Bay.

Te Matatini ki te Ao runs from 21-24 February at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

te matatini banner

Te Matatini ki te Ao 2019

Te Matatini is a significant cultural festival and the pinnacle event for Māori performing arts.

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