If you’ve ever seen an All Blacks rugby match, you’ve seen the haka. A chest-slapping, tongue-displaying ritual that New Zealanders often do before sports games.
But what’s the point of it and how did it start? Well, let’s go over that here!
Why does New Zealand do the haka?
New Zealanders today do the haka as a way of honoring their heritage and making a statement at the same time. They use the dance as a way to intimidate the opposing team in sports events.
This is because the Maori people of New Zealand traditionally did the haka to display a sense of tribal pride, strength, and unity.
How was the haka traditionally performed in New Zealand?
The haka was traditionally performed in New Zealand in groups, as a demonstration of the strength, pride, and solidarity of a Maori tribe.
The loud chant is accompanied by stomping feet, sticking out the tongue, and slapping the body rhythmically.
A haka’s lyrics frequently paint a poetic picture of the tribe’s history, including notable figures and significant events.
When is the haka performed?
The haka was performed to psych up people before a conflict, festivals, entertainment, welcome guests, and even challenges. It can even be performed as a greeting between people who have never met before.
Who can perform the haka?
Almost anyone can perform the haka, including women. That being said, some haka are reserved only for men, while women can perform others.
Additionally, even non-Maori are encouraged to learn the haka. Still, they must do so with sensitivity to the Maori heritage and traditions.
How is Haka performed in New Zealand today?
Today, the haka is still performed at modern ceremonies and festivities to show respect for guests and highlight the event’s significance. These include events like births, marriages, deaths, and graduations.
In the sporting arena, rivals might be challenged with a haka as well. For example, the All Blacks do it before every game.
Even the New Zealand women’s rugby team, the Black Ferns, are known for their spectacular haka performances.
In other words, the haka is still very much alive in New Zealand culture. This is a performance that you can witness at most special occasions in our country.