Episode 87: Te Rita Papesch and Sharon Mazer on the Living Tradition of Kapa Haka

This week, we are joined by Te Rita Papesch, a legendary figure in the Maori tradition of Kapa Haka, and Sharon Mazer, her friend and an American performance studies researcher. Together, they converse about Kapa Haka as a manifestation of the historic relations between the Maori people and their “Kiwi” colonizers, one which is embedded in the everyday life of the community but also undergoing constant change as performers adjust to the increased global visibility of their performances. Mazer describes the national Kapa Haka gatherings, which attract thousands of attendees and are nationally televised, as “a theatrical event incorporated into an Olympic competition encased in a ritual frame.” Papesch is the consummate insider, the matron of a family of Haka performers, whose influence stretches back to the 1970s, whereas Mazer offers the perspective of an informed outsider who has been observing the performances for more than twenty years. Together, they model bicultural conversation as they teach us how to read Kapa Haka’s place in the cultural politics of New Zealand. 

A full transcript of this conversation will be available soon!

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Co-authored writing by Te Rita Papesch & Sharon Mazer:
Breaking the Stage: From Te Matatini to Footprints/Tapuwae
But can it be Art? Kapa Haka as a contemporary indigenous performance practice
Maori Performance/Cultural Performance: Stages of Powhiri

More about Te Rita Papesch
Waka Huia profile: Part One; Part Two
Performance: Nga Roimata
Ōtairongo (audio portrait of Te Rita by artist Maree Sheehan)
Tainui Waka Kapa Haka Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018
Selected writing:
Creating a Modern Māori Identity Through Kapa Haka (2015 PhD Thesis)
Te Rita Papesch: case study of an exemplary learner of Māori as an additional language

More about Sharon Mazer
Selected writing:
Performing Māori: Kapa Haka on the Stage and on the Ground
Performance: Ethnographer/Tourist/Cannibal
Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle

Kapa Haka
National Kapa Haka Festival
Rules of Competition
Maori TelevisionKapa Haka commentary; Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau-ā-Apanui
Te Whare Wananga o Waikato at the NZ Polynesian Festival, 1981

All-Blacks and Haka
Hobbes and Shaw – Haka
Haka tourist shows
Game of Thrones Haka
Beyonce does Haka

Diana TaylorThe Archive and the Repertoire
Konstantin Stanislovsky“As If”

Haka in support of Black Lives Matter
Maori Protest Movements

More Maori culture:
Maori Powhiri (welcome)
Ta Moko – Maori tattoo
Raranga – Maori Weaving
Maori Musical Instruments
Maori Religion
Maori Weapons

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry, Colin and the How Do You Like It So Far? account! You can also email us at [email protected].

Music & Audio clips:
Te Whare Wananga o Waikato (1981)
Kapahaka Roopu Te Haona Kaha
Te Whānau a Apanui whakaeke- Te Matatini – 2015 – Entrance (Game of Thrones)
“In Time” by Dylan Emmett and “Spaceship” by Lesion X.
In Time (Instrumental) by Dylan Emmet  https://soundcloud.com/dylanemmet
Spaceship by Lesion X https://soundcloud.com/lesionxbeats
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/in-time-instrumental
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/lesion-x-spaceship
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/AzYoVrMLa1Q

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