So what does that mean? Zoning in?

The difference between a great haka team and other teams is the difference between a team who is in the zone and teams who are not. Being in the zone means each team member is connected. They are connected to their bodies and faces, to their kakahu and weaponry, to their team, to their bracket, to the stage and to the audience .

The best and most seasoned performers know the key to a great performance involves zoning in. This skill is responsible for boosting confidence and certainty.

‘Zoning in’ for competition begins before a group knows any of their content. The idea is for the group to know who they are first. They visualise what that Matatini stage is going to feel like with each other. When they learn their kupu and waiata, they visualise what it might sound like to perform that song. When they finish learning their actions and choreography they might visualise how the audience might react to their songs.

This is consciously done or subconsciously done. This is done, perhaps, as a team or as an individual. Nonetheless, it is done by the best.

The most crucial time for a performer to “zone in”, is the day of the final performance. While the performer is preparing their face and kakahu they visualise. Once they are dressed and on the bus, riding to the Matatini venue, they visualise. They visualise, like most great sports people, every step of their performance. They know what they need to feel for that performance and what they want their audience to feel.

The feeling a performer, a whole team, wishes to convey on the Matatini stage is reciprocated only if the connection is made.  Audience’s eyes are glued only to the best. They applaud with screams only for the best. A judges full marks go only to the best – only to those who are in ‘the zone’.

Enjoy watching this year’s Matatini festival and see which teams are in ‘the zone’. Can’t watch it? Catch the Tainui kapa with our on-air broadcast Thursday, Friday and Saturday.