A record number of teams will turn out at the Te Arawa regional kapahaka competitions in Rotorua on Saturday.
Organiser Trevor Maxwell says up to 5000 performers and supporters are expected at the Energy Events Centre.
Teams will acknowledge the event's long time patron, the late Sir Howard Morrison, and also reflect on other Waiariki identities who have died over the past two years, including Arapeta Tahana, Taini Morrison and Hawea Vercoe.
Mr Maxwell, a former Ngati Rangiwewehi tutor, says the top four teams, Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao, Te Mataarae i o Rehu, Manaia and Nga Uri O Te Whanoa, can expect some tough competition.
He told Waatea News that 17 teams are competing - the most since the event began.