Haka (/ˈhɑːkə/,[1] /ˈhækə/;[2] singular haka, in both Māori and English) are a variety of ceremonial dances in Māori culture.[3] A performance art, haka are often performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.[3] Haka have been traditionally performed by both men and women for a variety of social functions within Māori culture.[4][5][6] They are performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions, or funerals.

Haka is a traditional genre of Māori dance. This painting dates from c. 1845.

Kapa haka groups are common in schools.[7] The main Māori performing arts competition, Te Matatini, takes place every two years.[8]

All Blacks performing a haka (Dunedin, 2014)

New Zealand sports teams' practice of performing a haka to challenge opponents before international matches has made the dance form more widely known around the world. This tradition began with the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team tour and has been carried on by the New Zealand rugby union team (known as the All Blacks) since 1905.[9][10][11] Although popularly associated with the traditional battle preparations of male warriors, conceptions that haka are typically war dances, and the non-accurate performance of haka by non-Māori, are considered erroneous and sometimes offensive by Māori scholars.[12][13]

Etymology edit

The group of people performing a haka is referred to as a kapa haka (kapa meaning group or team, and also rank or row).[14] The Māori word haka has cognates in other Polynesian languages, for example: Samoan saʻa (saʻasaʻa), Tokelauan haka, Rarotongan ʻaka, Hawaiian haʻa, Marquesan haka, meaning 'to be short-legged' or 'dance'; all from Proto-Polynesian saka, from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian sakaŋ, meaning 'bowlegged'.[15]

History and practice edit

When performed by men,[16] haka feature protruding of the tongue.

Origins edit

According to Māori scholar Tīmoti Kāretu, haka have been "erroneously defined by generations of uninformed as 'war dances'",[12] while Māori mythology places haka as a dance "about the celebration of life".[17] Following a creation story, the sun god, Tama-nui-te-rā, had two wives, the Summer Maid, Hine-raumati, and the Winter Maid, Hine-takurua. Haka originated in the coming of Hine-raumati, whose presence on still, hot days was revealed in a quivering appearance in the air. This was haka of Tāne-rore, the son of Hine-raumati and Tama-nui-te-rā.[18][19] Hyland comments that "[t]he haka is (and also represents) a natural phenomena [sic]; on hot summer days, the 'shimmering' atmospheric distortion of air emanating from the ground is personified as 'Te Haka a Tānerore'".[20]

Jackson and Hokowhitu state, "haka is the generic name for all types of dance or ceremonial performance that involve movement."[21] The various types of haka include whakatū waewae, tūtū ngārahu and peruperu.[18] The tūtū ngārahu involves jumping from side to side, while in the whakatū waewae no jumping occurs. Another kind of haka performed without weapons is the ngeri, the purpose of which was to motivate a warrior psychologically. The movements are very free, and each performer is expected to be expressive of their feelings. Manawa wera haka were generally associated with funerals (tangihanga) or other occasions involving death. Like the ngeri they were performed without weapons, and there was little or no choreographed movement.[18]

War haka (peruperu) were originally performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition.[10][22] Various actions are employed in the course of a performance, including facial contortions such as showing the whites of the eyes (pūkana), and poking out the tongue (whetero, performed by men only[5]), and a wide variety of vigorous body actions such as slapping the hands against the body and stomping of the feet. As well as chanted words, a variety of cries and grunts are used. Haka may be understood as a kind of symphony in which the different parts of the body represent many instruments.[5] The hands, arms, legs, feet, voice, eyes, tongue and the body as a whole combine to express courage, annoyance, joy or other feelings relevant to the purpose of the occasion.[18]

18th and 19th centuries edit

19th-century illustration of a haka, c. 1890

The earliest Europeans to witness haka described them as being "vigorous" and "ferocious".[23] Joseph Banks, who accompanied James Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand in 1769, later recorded:

"The War Song and dance consists of Various contortions of the limbs during which the tongue is frequently thrust out incredibly far and the orbits of the eyes enlarged so much that a circle of white is distinctly seen round the Iris: in short nothing is omitted which can render a human shape frightful and deformed, which I suppose they think terrible."[24]

From their arrival in the early 19th century, Christian missionaries tried unsuccessfully to eradicate haka, along with other forms of Māori culture that they saw as conflicting with Christian beliefs and practice. Henry Williams, the leader of the Church Missionary Society mission in New Zealand, aimed to replace haka and traditional Māori chants (waiata) with hymns. Missionaries also encouraged European harmonic singing as part of the process of conversion.[23]

The use of haka in welcoming ceremonies for members of British royal family helped to improve its standing among Europeans. Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, was the first royal to visit New Zealand, in 1869.[25] Upon the Duke's arrival at the wharf in Wellington, he was greeted by a vigorous haka. The Wellington Independent reported, "The excitement of the Maoris becomes uncontrollable. They gesticulate, they dance, they throw their weapons wildly in the air, while they yell like fiends let loose. But all this fierce yelling is of the most friendly character. They are bidding the Duke welcome."[26]

Modern haka edit

A group of men and women perform a haka for Governor Lord Ranfurly at Ruatoki, Bay of Plenty, 1904

In modern times, various haka have been composed to be performed by women and even children. In some haka the men start the performance and women join in later.[5][27] Haka are performed for various reasons: for welcoming distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals.

The 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team began a tradition by performing haka during an international tour.[28] The common use of haka by the national rugby union team before matches, beginning with The Original All Blacks in 1905,[9] has made one type of haka familiar.[29]

Māori Battalion haka in Egypt, 1941

Some events have caused protests. The 1979 annual "haka party" parade at the University of Auckland – in which engineering students persisted in parodying haka by painting male genitals on their body and performing with sexually obscene gestures – was disrupted by a collection of Māori and Pacific Island students (He Taua, or The War Party) headed by Ngā Tamatoa, a prominent Māori activist group. For two decades people including Māori students at the university had asked the university and the engineering department to stop the tradition.[30][31] In 1979 the protesters included Hone Harawira, later a Member of Parliament.[32] Several of the engineering students were assaulted, and members of He Taua were arrested.[33] Their court case in Auckland sparked anti-racism protests outside the courthouse and was supported by a range of people including the president of the Auckland University Students Association.[34]

The choreographed dance and chant popularized around the world by the All Blacks derives from "Ka Mate",[35] a brief haka previously intended for extemporaneous, non-synchronized performance, whose composition is attributed to Te Rauparaha (1760s–1849), a war leader of the Ngāti Toa tribe.[36] The "Ka Mate" haka is classified as a haka taparahi – a ceremonial haka performed without weapons. "Ka Mate" is about the cunning ruse Te Rauparaha used to outwit his enemies, and may be interpreted as "a celebration of the triumph of life over death".[35] Concerns were expressed that the authorship and significance of this haka to the Ngāti Toa were being lost and that it had "become the most performed, the most maligned, the most abused of all haka",[37] and was now "the most globally recognised form of cultural appropriation".[11] Specific legal challenges regarding the rights of the Ngāti Toa to be acknowledged as the authors and owners of "Ka Mate" were eventually settled in a Deed of Settlement between Ngāti Toa and the New Zealand Government and New Zealand Rugby Union agreed in 2009 and signed in 2012.[38][39]

In Indonesia, a culture of doing Haka-haka or its more commonly known variation Yel-yel exist and performed by groups such as military personnel, law enforcement, civil servants, students, and others.[40][41][42]

Cultural influence edit

A performance by the Kahurangi Māori Dance group, United States.

In the 21st century, kapa haka has been offered as a subject in universities, including the study of haka, and is practiced in schools and military institutions.[43]

In addition to the national Te Matatini ("many faces") festival,[8] local and regional competitions attract dozens of teams and thousands of spectators.[43]

The All Blacks' use of haka has become the most widely known, but several other New Zealand sports teams now perform haka before commencing a game. These include the national rugby league team ("the Kiwis"),[44] and the men's national basketball team ("Tall Blacks").[45] In the lead up to the Rugby World Cup in 2011, flashmob haka became a popular way of expressing support for the All Blacks. Some Māori leaders thought it was "inappropriate" and a "bastardisation" of haka.[46] Sizeable flashmob haka were performed in Wellington[47] and Auckland,[48] as well as London, which has a large New Zealander immigrant community.[49]

The music video for the song "Poi E" (1983) by the Pātea Māori Club, written by Dalvanius Prime and Ngoi Pēwhairangi, used a mixture of kapa haka and hip-hop choreography. This was then mixed with moves from Michael Jackson's Thriller music video as the outro song parody for Taika Waititi's movie Boy (2010).[50][51]

In November 2012, a Māori kapa haka group from Rotorua performed a version of the "Gangnam Style" dance mixed with a traditional haka in Seoul, celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between South Korea and New Zealand.[52]

On 7 December 2014, at the 2014 Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas, Texas, Team New Zealand performed a haka on roller skates to the Australian Roller Derby team before their bout in the quarter-finals.[53] Team New Zealand performed a haka before their debut game against Team USA at the 2011 Roller Derby World Cup, on 1 December 2011; however, it was unexpected and the arena music was still playing. It has since become an expected tradition.[54]

In 2017, actor Dwayne Johnson performed a haka with a girls soccer team in The Fate of the Furious.[55]

Actor Jason Momoa performed a haka with a group of performers on the red carpet at the Aquaman premiere in Los Angeles in 2018.[56][57]

In March 2019, following the Christchurch mosque shootings, school pupils and other groups performed haka to honour those killed in the attacks.[58]

The choreography in the "Miroh" music video by South Korean boy band Stray Kids featured haka elements.[59]

Three or four American football teams are known to perform haka as a pregame rite. This appears to have begun at Kahuku High School where both the student body and local community includes many Polynesian Hawaiians, Māori, Samoans, Tahitians, and Tongans. The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team also adopted haka as a pregame rite during the 2006 season,[60] and the practice has spread to a number of other teams overseas; there has, however, been some criticism of this as inappropriate and disrespectful.[61][62] Non-traditional or inaccurate haka performances have been criticised by Māori academics, such as Morgan Godfery.[13]

See also edit

Similar dances

References edit

Inline citations edit

  1. ^ "Haka | English meaning". Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  2. ^ "haka noun". Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  3. ^ a b "haka – Māori Dictionary". Te Aka Māori Dictionary. Retrieved 10 June 2021. ...vigorous dances with actions and rhythmically shouted words. A general term for several types of such dances.
  4. ^ "Haka, Maori dance". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "Haka!". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011.
  6. ^ Simon 2015.
  7. ^ "Kapa haka in mainstream schools – Affirming Māori students as Māori | School News – New Zealand". www.schoolnews.co.nz. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Te Matatini – The Evolution of Kapa Haka" (PDF). DANZ Quarterly. No. 24. 2011. p. 6.
  9. ^ a b Hunt 2015.
  10. ^ a b Simon 2015, p. 88.
  11. ^ a b Hokowhitu 2014, p. 273.
  12. ^ a b Kāretu 1993b, p. 37.
  13. ^ a b "The haka isn't yours – stop performing it | Morgan Godfery". the Guardian. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  14. ^ "kapa". Te Aka Māori Dictionary. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  15. ^ "haka". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Haka – Ka Mate". www.themaori.com. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  17. ^ Simon 2013.
  18. ^ a b c d McLintock 1966.
  19. ^ Simon 2015, p. 87.
  20. ^ Hyland 2015, p. 69.
  21. ^ Jackson & Hokowhitu 2002, p. 70.
  22. ^ Mitcalfe 1974, p. 514.
  23. ^ a b Smith 2014a.
  24. ^ Kāretu 1993a, p. 22.
  25. ^ "New Zealand's first royal visit". nzhistory.govt.nz. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  26. ^ 13 April 1869, Wellington Independent, p. 3. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  27. ^ "The role of women in the traditional use of the haka Ka Eke i te Wiwī". eng.kiamau.tki.org.nz. Te Kete Ipurangi. Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  28. ^ Ryan 1993, p. 46.
  29. ^ "History of the All Black haka". Tourism New Zealand. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  30. ^ Keane, Basil (1 June 2017). "Engineers' haka, 1955". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu Taonga. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  31. ^ Day, Simon (17 October 2017). "Mocking the haka: The Haka Party Incident and 'casual' racism in New Zealand". The Spinoff. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  32. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (2 May 2009). "Haka brawl rivals unite to remember". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  33. ^ Walker 2004, p. 220–7.
  34. ^ "Support He Taua". Mana News. 30 March 2021.
  35. ^ a b Abbot, Edward Immyns. "Chant composed by Te Rauparaha". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  36. ^ Jackson & Hokowhitu 2002, p. 129.
  37. ^ Kāretu 1993b, p. 68.
  38. ^ "New Zealand Maori win haka fight". BBC News. 11 February 2009.
  39. ^ "Link to Ngāti Toa Rangātira Deed of Settlement documents". New Zealand Government. 7 December 2012.
  40. ^ "Lomba Beladiri Chadrick Dan Haka Haka Tingkat Pasmar 1 Resmi Dibuka" [Chadrick Martial Arts and Haka Haka Competition at 1st Marine Force is Officially Opened]. Tentara Nasional Indonesia. 22 September 2023. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  41. ^ "Serma Asep Ciptakan 'Haka Haka' Khusus untuk HUT TNI" [Sergeant Major Asep Creates 'Haka Haka' Specially for TNI Anniversary]. detiknews (in Indonesian). Surabaya. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2023. Itu haka haka yang kita lakukan tadi. Bukan yel yel, Itu yang dilakukan para pejuang Selandia Baru sebelum bertempur selalu melakukan haka haka agar musuh takut lebih dulu. [That's the haka haka we did earlier. Not yel-yel, that's what New Zealand fighters always do before fighting, so that the enemy is afraid first.]
  42. ^ TNI, Puspen (24 April 2013), Atraksi Haka-Haka dari Wan TNI (Part 1) [Haka-Haka Attraction from TNI Women (Part 1)] (in Indonesian), National Monument, Jakarta, retrieved 20 November 2023{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  43. ^ a b Smith 2014b.
  44. ^ Burgess, Michael (31 October 2018). "Rugby League: Kiwis perform haka for Liverpool football players". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  45. ^ "New Zealand haka war dance bewilders USA basketball team". The Guardian. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  46. ^ "Maori leaders at odds over flash mob haka". 3 News NZ. 20 September 2011. Archived from the original on 27 December 2011.
  47. ^ "Wellington haka attracts hundreds". 3 News NZ. 8 September 2011. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  48. ^ "Flash mob haka on Auckland's Queen Street ahead of RWC opener All Blacks vs Tonga". 3 News NZ. 9 September 2011.
  49. ^ "Flashmob haka takes over Trafalgar Square". 3 News NZ. 19 November 2011. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  50. ^ Powell, Jacob. "Review: Poi E: The Story of Our Song". Pantograph Punch. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  51. ^ Kara, Scott. "Poi Story 2 – Entertainment News". NZ Herald. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  52. ^ "Maori take on Gangnam Style in Korea". 3 News. 30 November 2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  53. ^ "Team New Zealand vs Team Australia Haka". Blood and Thunder World Cup Official Facebook. 7 December 2014.
  54. ^ "Team New Zealand Haka". Blood and Thunder World Cup Official Youtube. 1 December 2011. Archived from the original on 13 November 2021.
  55. ^ "'The Fate of the Furious': Dwayne Johnson Explains That Soccer Haka Scene". Yahoo Entertainment. 18 April 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2024.
  56. ^ Woerner, Meredith (13 December 2018). "Jason Momoa Performs Haka at the 'Aquaman' Premiere". Variety. Retrieved 22 March 2024.
  57. ^ 'AQUAMAN' Los Angeles Premiere LiveStream (december 12, 2018) — Warner Bros. Pictures, retrieved 22 March 2024
  58. ^ Hassan, Jennifer; Tamkin, Emily (18 March 2019). "The power of the haka: New Zealanders pay traditional tribute to mosque attack victims". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  59. ^ Bell, Crystal (25 March 2019). "Stray Kids Are Back And Bolder Than Ever With Celebratory New Single 'MIROH'". MTV News. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  60. ^ "2006 Hawaii Bowl UH over ASU – UH Haka". YouTube. Archived from the original on 13 November 2021. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  61. ^ Sygall, David (1 October 2015). "New Zealanders outraged over awkward haka performed by Arizona Wildcats college football team". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  62. ^ Carpenter, Cam (28 September 2015). "Mixed reaction to an American haka". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 11 October 2018.

General references edit

External links edit