Thousands of people are gathering in Upper Hutt north of Wellington for the annual Maori Catholic Hui Aranga event.
Catholic clubs from across the North Island will take part in the four-day event, which includes kapa haka and sports competitions, choral singing and religious processions.
A powhiri will be held this afternoon at St Patrick's College in Silverstream, marking the beginning of the hui, which has been running since 1946.
Hui Aranga committee member Rawiri Tinirau said the idea was to bring the Maori Catholic community together to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.
It also fostered a spirit of competition, and those ideals were still strong today, he said.