May 12, 2010

What does the All Blacks haka mean?

If you’ve ever switched on your telly at the start of a rugby game when New Zealand’s All Blacks run out to take on their fiery opponents, you’ll have seen the haka. You’ve probably even tried it yourself – particularly when the keg runs dry! Slapping your thighs and chest and shouting words that sound vaguely Maori…

But the haka, to many New Zealanders, is a powerful show of respect. Take it off the rugby field and when the haka is performed to honour a dignitary it’ll give a Kiwi goosebumps. I’ll never forget seeing the dozens of kids from Hillary College performing a rousing haka as his casket was being carried out of Holy Trinty Cathedral in Auckland. It brought me to tears.

This blog is for everyone who wonders what on earth it’s all about – and for those who want to have a go!

“Ka Mate”
Leader: Ringa pakia! Slap the hands against the thighs!
Uma tiraha! Puff out the chest.
Turi whatia! Bend the knees!
Hope whai ake! Let the hip follow!
Waewae takahia kia kino! Stomp the feet as hard as you can!
Leader: Ka mate, ka mate ‘I die, I die,
Team: Ka ora’ Ka ora’ ‘I live, ‘I live,
Leader: Ka mate, ka mate ‘I die, ‘I die
Team: Ka ora Ka ora “ ‘I live, ‘I live,
All: Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru This is the fierce, powerful man (some versions say ‘the hairy man’)
Nāna i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā …Who caused the sun to shine again for me
Upane… Upane Up the ladder, Up the ladder
Upane Kaupane” Up to the top
Whiti te rā,! The sun shines!
Hī! Rise!

And here it is lead by former captain Tana Umaga:

About Megan Singleton


Megan Singleton is a word slinger of online, print and radio. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 17 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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