The Haka boosts morale, welcomes people, supports, acknowledges others, and celebrates occasions.In this new article, I am giving you several examples to clarify the different uses of the Haka.
Types of Haka
I have written about the Haka, a traditional dance from the Māori before. There are three major types of Haka: The Haka Peruperu (the war Haka), The Haka Taparahi (Haka to support and enthuse), and the Haka Pōwhiri (Haka performedto welcome visitors). In a previous article, you will learn more about these different types of Haka and their meaning.
Many Hakas exist, and new ones are created constantly. I think this keeps the Māori culture alive because it reflects the changing consciousness. Recently, I learned that Haka is more than a challenge and an expression of courage. It is performed for the following different reasons and on different occasions:
The Haka can be used to boost morale. Supporters can perform a Haka to boost the morale of a sports team standing on the field.
This video shows a Haka being performed to boost the morale of soldiers:
The haka Pōwhiri is a welcome Haka. The Haka is performed to welcome visitors or people to an important event. An example of a Haka Pōwhiri is given below:
The Haka Pōwhiri can include several Hakas, Waiata’s (chants), speeches, and Kairakira(prayers). They often take longer than the other Hakas.This is another example of a Haka Pōwhiri. It includes the te Waka Haka, often performed to welcome people or before the famous Kamaté Haka.
The Haka Tautoko is a Haka of support. It can be performed by an individual or a group to demonstrate the support of a speaker and the message. A Haka Tautoko is to add importance, power, or authority. This is called Mana in Māori. The video below is an example of a Haka Tautoko at the Te Matatini Paka Haka Festival in Wellington in 2019).
You do a Haka Tautoko if you know who you are and are proud of yourself. You express your identity (or your WHY) with a lot of passion, and you own it. The Haka Tautoko doesn’t take too long and has to be done right (like any other Haka). That means you know the words, the action moves, and their meaning.
If you do the Haka Tautoko by yourself, members of your Iwi (Tribe or group) or Whānau (family) likely might join when they see you perform the Haka.
These Hakas are performed to celebrate an event. You will often see them at weddings like this one:
or this one:
The latter could also be a Haka Tautoko.
This celebration Haka (the Kamaté Haka) below was performed by the All Blacks, the National Rugby Team of New Zealand, after they won the World Rugby Cup in 2015.
The Haka can also be performed to acknowledge, recognize, or honor groups or individuals. An example is this one performed by the son of a woman who got her bachelor’s degree from a local university. It could be another Haka Tautoko.
The Haka is also performed to give thanks to people or groups. Here’s an example of a school performing the Haka for a retiring teacher.
A Haka Taparahi is done to support people (e.g., at funerals) and enthuse or inspire others. This includes boosting morale and celebrating and acknowledging others.
These are the main uses of the Haka, the traditional ceremonial dance of the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.
But, you will often see the term Kapa Haka. This is not a Haka dance but a group of people performing Haka and chanting. Often, the performers stand in lines and some are playing instruments, like a guitar.
What to do when you see a group of people performing Haka?
The best way to receive a Haka is to stand still and watch with respect. Do not capture it with your smartphone. When you belong to the same Iwi (tribe or group) and if you know the Haka well, you might join the Haka dance. If appropriate, you might respond with your own Haka or strength dance. That would be your Haka Tautoko (see above). In doubt, you better do nothing. You may clap (pakipaki) or laugh (katakata) at the end.
Your strength dance
The Haka belongs to the Māori, and there is much more to write about the Haka. I can let you experience different Hakas, specially created for Pākehā (non-Māori), which I have learned from a respected grumpy Māori elder. I do not create a dance with a group, which we then call a Haka.
That doesn’t mean you can’t develop a dance that expresses your strength. The Haka can inspire, but your dance should connect you with the group’s culture. It should reflect the group’s own identity and land.
Do you want to create your strength dance based on the Māori Haka? I can help you. Contact me today to find out how.
What is your strength dance? What strength dance or Haka inspires you most? Let me know in the comment box below. I, and other readers of this article, look forward to read from you!
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Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know, and I apologize. I do not intend to offend the Haka and the Māori.