- The Haka: New Zealand’s Maori War Dance.
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Tama-nui-te-ra, the Sun God and his wife Hine-raumati, who is the essence of summer, had a son named Tane-rore. Traditionally, the haka was primarily performed by warriors before going into battle as a way of proclaiming their strength and intimidating the opposing iwi tribe. Wars among Maori were partly waged for land ownership, but also had a strong focus on attaining and sustaining tribal Mana, a belief that is vital to Maori tradition and spirituality.
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In brief, Mana is a personal and sacred spiritual essence which can be gained through ancestral ties and personal wealth. With land being the most important resource to Maori the more land you own, the higher your wealth and prestige , wars became a means to preserve the Mana gained from all land acquired, old and new. The world was introduced to the haka through its use in sport, but many may not realise this tradition has been in place since the late 19th century.
In fact, the first time the haka was performed in an international competition was in and also in , when the predominantly-Maori New Zealand Native Rugby Team toured Britain, Ireland and Australia. These rugby teams continued to carry on the haka tradition from then onwards.
A traditional variant of the haka is an ancient Maori art form known as kapa haka. The main point of difference between the two is that kapa haka has a strong focus on waiata, traditional songs that typically transmit feelings, tribal knowledge and historical narratives. Like the haka, this was also used to daunt the enemy during battle.
The kīngitanga movement: years of Māori monarchy
However, the repression of Maori traditions and customs in the 19th century led the kapa haka to transform into more of a musical performance than a form of intimidation. These days, kapa haka is primarily used as means of preserving Tikanga Maori — the overarching customs and believes of the Maori people — particularly when it comes to teaching children about their heritage. All New Zealand schools have their own haka and kapa haka groups, and inter-school performance competitions are held on an annual basis. There are several haka varieties, performed by men and women alike which fulfill different purposes.
Modern examples include the welcoming of distinguished guests, the acknowledgment of important achievements, or special occasions like birthdays, weddings and funerals.
Origins of the Maori Wars
Some of the major haka types include whakatu waewae, tutu ngarahu, peruperu and ngeri. Whakatu waewae involves no weapons and has performers standing upright while stamping their feet. Tutu Ngarahu was utilized as a precursor to battle and involved side-to-side jumping and the use of weapons. Peruperu was traditionally performed as tribes went into battle, with weapons and unified leaps being used to intimidate the enemies they were facing.
Here are two of the most distinguished haka to hit the international spectrum:. This haka is widely renowned because of its traditional performance by the All Blacks. The main lyrics and their translation are as follows:. Estimated between Fri. Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods and will depend on when your payment clears - opens in a new window or tab.
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The Origins of the Māori Seats
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A glimpse into the haka’s evolution
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