New Zealand’s Haka: The Maori’s Dance of War

Every country has its traditional dance, and in New Zealand’s case, it is called the Haka. The All Blacks, NZs rugby team are given credit for introducing it to the world. In cultural traditions, the war dance of the Maori holds an exceptional place in the past as well as the present. Let’s get to know more about the fantastic cultural dance.


The Evolution of Haka

Haka is a tribal challenge or a war cry, which is a collective term for the Maori war dance. It involves various body parts, like the legs, feet, hands, eyes,tongue, and voice to create a vigorous rhythm to invoke an emotionally-charged and disciplined message. `

It originated from the Maori legend, based on their sun god Tama-Nui-te-Ra and his spouse, the heart of summer, Hine-Raumati, and their son, Tane-rore, who the Maoris believe dedicated the dance to his mother.

 Conventionally, the Maori warriors perform haka before heading into battle with another tribe or iwi, because of land ownership. Aside from the land, they also believe that it is one way for them to sustain Mana, a sacred spiritual substance.

Later on, the world knew the existence of haka through rugby, by the performance of the Maori NZ Rugby team. So, if you want to feel the impact of the haka, prepare your New Zealand tourist visa and visit the country.


Kapa Haka

Kapa Haka, a primitive Maori art form, is another variant of the haka. The difference is that Kapa Haka focuses on a traditional war song called the waiata, which classically convey historical narratives, feelings, and tribal knowledge. However, during the 1900s, it transformed into a musical presentation.

Today, Kapa Haka is mainly used to preserve the customs and beliefs of the Maoris and is called the Tikanga Maori. So, once you have your New Zealand tourist visa, you can get to see the performance of Kapa Haka, especially during inter-school competition.


Different Forms of Haka

Various types of haka are performed by tribes on weddings, funerals, and to welcome distinguished guests. A bad performance can ruin a tribe’s reputation for it is a tradition of high importance.

There are various significant types of haka like Whakatu waewae, which involves the stamping of the feet while standing upright. Tutu Ngarahu, a harbinger to battle, is performed with the use of weapons and side-to-side bouncing. Like the Tutu Ngarahu, Peruperu also uses weapons, but this time, they use unified leaps as a way to intimidate their enemies. The last type is the ngeri, which has no significant movement but is a war cry to motivate the warriors during battle.

Haka is one of the things you shouldn’t miss to experience. So, gear up, prepare your New Zealand tourist visa and relish the moment in the country.