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As New Zealand prepares to welcome the world for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, another slightly less global event got under way this week, Te Matatini, the haka championships.

From 16 to 20 February, the seaside town of Gisborne is playing host to the National Kapa Haka Festival, where 42 teams from all over New Zealand and Australia compete for the title of "Best Kapa Haka Group" in this biennial event.

As many as 20,000 spectators and 2,000 performers have descended on Gisborne's Wai o Hika Estate for four days to compete in this long-standing festival.

The haka, a traditional Maori dance, was made internationally famous by the New Zealand All Blacks, who perform the dance before each of their matches.

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