Some of the country's top kapa haka performers are judging students taking part in the national Maori Culture primary school competition.
The biennial event started on Tuesday, and is being held at the ASB Arena at Mount Maunganui.
An organiser, Jack Te Moana, is expecting about 15,000 people to attend the three day competition.
Thirty-seven schools are taking the stage to showcase their skills in kapa haka disciplines such as haka, action song and poi.
Mr Te Moana says the teams are being scored by about a dozen kapa haka experts including head judge Turuhira Hare and Heni Pewhairangi and Tamati Waaka.
He says most of the judges are current or former performers of the national kapa haka event, Te Matatini, and represent the different rohe or regions of the country.
Prize-giving for both aggregate and non-aggregate categories will be held on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Te Moana, a teacher at Tauranga Intermediate, says the wairua (atmosphere) at the beginning was a bit anxious with teams coming through the doors.
But Mr Te Moana says that, as first day of comptetition proceeded, the mood became more relaxed and positive as whanau entered the arena.