Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Haka is the generic name for Maori dance.
It is an action chant, often described as a "War Dance", but more a chant with hand gestures and foot stamping, originally performed by Warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess and generally abusing the opposition.
In modern times, the haka is used in a number of situations. The most famous modern use is its regular performance by New Zealand representative Rugby Union (the All Blacks) and Rugby League teams before commencing a game. It is also performed at certain state functions, such as the welcoming of foreign dignitaries.
Origin of the Haka
According to Maori mythology, the Sun God, Tama-nui-to-ra, had two wives, the Summer maid, Hine-raumati, and the Winter maid, Hine takurua. The child of Tama-nui-to-ra and Hine-raumati, Tane-rore is credited with the origin of the dance.
The All Blacks' haka
According to legend the particular haka used by the All Blacks (The Kamate haka) dates to 1810 when Chief Te Rauparaha of the Ngati Toa tribe was being chased by enemies. He hid in a food-storage pit. He climbed out to find someone standing over him, who, instead of killing Te Rauparaha, turned out to be another chief friendly to Te Rauparaha. In relief Te Rauparaha performed a haka with the words—
It is death, it is death: it is life, it is life; this is the man who enabled me to live as I climb up step by step toward sunlight.
These words are still used today.
- The 2003 Schools Kapa Haka Nationals held at Hopuhopu November 28, 29 Nga Whakataetae Kapa Haka o te Motu mo nga Kura Tuatahi, Waikato 2003. Competition results and photos can be found here. Congratulations to Te Wharekura o Ruatoki on their first placing overall, with Manutuke School a close second place and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Bernard Fergusson coming third in an awesome Kapa Haka weekend.
- Lyrics, video and history of the All Black Haka
- All Blacks Official site on the Haka
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