Monday, 4 June 2007


The New Zealand Maori haka is a dramatic dance, first used as a form of distraction. The words spoken during the dance are important but should not be taken out of context, nor without taking note of which tribe is using it. So it can be difficult to just look at the words alone and try to translate the words to English.

Often the haka is seen as a war dance, but that is not always so. As mentioned above, it can be used to distract the viewer, as a welcome, a challenge, or a show of defiance. It may also be used to create a high level of excitement in the performer, as seen when the All Blacks rugby team performs the haka.

The most famous All Blacks haka is the Ka Mate! Haka composed in the early nineteenth century by Te Rauparaha, a famous chief of tribe Ngati Toa. The words relate to a moment in time, when Te Rauparaha is climbing out of a kumara pit, where he was in hiding from pursuing warriors.

On 27 August 2005, the All Blacks rugby team performed a new haka at Carisbrook in Dunedin, against the Springboks rugby team. This new haka does not replace the traditional Ka Mate haka, but will be used by the team when and if they find it appropriate.

The new haka, called Kapa O Pango (Team in Black) came about because the All Blacks rugby team felt they wanted a haka that represented who they were and where they were from. The team is multicultural, and some of the actions have a Polynesian influence.

The haka was composed by Derek Lardelli, from Ngati Porou. He has asked that people take particular note of the throat-cutting gesture at the end of the haka, performed particularly dramatically by halfback Piri Weepu. The gesture symbolizes the intensity of first-class rugby and the consequences of defeat.

Here is the All Blacks Ka Mate! Haka with English translation:

A ka mate! Ka mate!
'Tis death! 'Tis death!
Ka ora! Ka ora!
'Tis life! 'Tis life!
Ka mate! Ka mate!
'Tis death! 'Tis death!
Ka ora! Ka ora!
'Tis life! 'Tis life!
Tenei te tangata pohuruhuru
Behold! There stands the hairy man
Nana nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra!
Who will cause the sun to shine!
A hupane! A kaupane!
One step upwards, another step upwards!
A hupane! A kaupane!
One step upwards, another step upwards!
Whiti te ra!
The sun shines!

The words of the All Blacks Kapa O Pango Haka with corresponding English translation:

Kapa o pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!
Let me become one with the land
Hi aue, hi! Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!
This is our land that rumbles
Au, au, aue ha!
And it's my time! It's my moment!
Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!
This defines us as the All Blacks
Au, au, aue ha!
It's my time! It's my moment!
I ahaha! Ka tu te ihiihi
Our dominance
Ka tu te wanawana
Our supremacy will triumph
Ki runga ki te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei, hi!
And will be placed on high
Ponga ra!
Silver fern!
Kapa o Pango, aue hi!
All Blacks!
Ponga ra!
Silver fern!
Kapa o Pango, aue hi, ha!
All Blacks!

This is a YouTube Clip that shows first the Ka Mate Haka led by captain Taine Randell and then the Kapa O Pango Haka led by succeeding captain, Tana Umaga.


For more information, you could check out this Wikipedia URL:

A recent controversy involving the haka was:

The now infamous "Handbag Haka" which was shown on Australian TV and was used to promote an upcoming Tri-Nations Test match between the Wallabies and the All Blacks. The following is the YouTube clip followed by a copy of a newspaper article:

An Australian TV advert portraying New Zealand rugby players carrying women's handbags has upset the All Blacks. The advertisement shows the All Blacks players performing the haka challenge carrying computer-generated handbags. It refers to an incident when former captain Tana Umaga broke up a fight by hitting fellow All Black Chris Masoe over the head with a woman's handbag. "It's insensitive, I think, to Maori and disrespectful of the All Blacks," said assistant coach Wayne Smith. Mr Masoe, who was allegedly reduced to tears by the blow, was later fined NZ$3,000 (£1,000) by the New Zealand Rugby Union. The incident generated considerable media coverage and sparked jokes at the All Blacks' expense. The handbag went on to fetch NZ$22,750 ($13,650, £7,500) in an online auction. The television advert is promoting Saturday's Tri-Nations Test between New Zealand and Australia in Christchurch. Australian coach John Connolly told local radio he had not seen the advertisement yet.


eMz said...

i really like seeing the All Blacks do that each time. it never gets old. hehe

KS Cheah said...

My sentiments too. :o)