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Competition components

Seamus Fitzgerald, the Polynesian Cultural Center's former Maori cultural ambassador, explained there are six categories in which each group participating in the annual competitions will be judged in aggregate.

"We call them aggregate, because they go to determining the overall winners," Fitzgerald said. "And there are four components that are non-aggregate, or in other words, they do not count toward choosing the overall champions."

He added in addition to the overall winners, there will be category winners in both the junior (up to age 13) and senior divisions.

The aggregate categories of judging include:

Non-aggregate categories include:

Fitzgerald explained his Te Hokioi group's costume contains three designs. "One of them on the backs and sides of our women's costumes, for example, is called potama-ki-te-rangi, which is the 'stairway to heaven.' That refers to the progression in life, that we take it one step at a time. We're always striving to be better. The journey in life is upwards, but knowledge is always passed down from one generation to the next. There's all that symbolism and more that comes into that one design. There's also an old legend about one of our ancestors climbing the Twelve Heavens, which is where this design comes from. Every other design also has its own background as well."