July 27, 2019

All Blacks Kapa o Pango haka translation

The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team is as famous for winning two back to back Rugby World Cups (played once every four years) as it is for their spine-tingling haka performed at the beginning of a test match against another country.

If you visit New Zealand during rugby season (winter) you should try and see an All Blacks game! But you’ll need to grab your tickets well in advance because we Kiwis love our team and international test matches between our beloved All Blacks and another nation always sell out.

If you are already a rugby fan then you’ll know all about the haka, but you may not know what the words mean, or even why they do it.

This post explains why we have two hakas: the traditional Ka Mate and the newer specific All Blacks haka, Kapa o pango, as well as the haka translation so you can understand what they’re so fired up about!

All Blacks haka performed against Ireland in Chicago
The All Blacks performing the haka in Chicago against Ireland

What is the haka?

The haka is a traditional Maori war cry. It is fierce and involves a male leader and a group of mainly men (women have only recently been doing the haka) chanting, stamping feet and hands in choreographed movements with some pretty scary looking pukana (that wild eyes with the tongue out that they do!)

The All Blacks perform two hakas, and you never know which one you’re going to get at a game: The iconic Ka mate haka was written by Maori chief  Te Rauparaha as a war cry in 1820 before the warriors go to battle to try and scare the living daylights out of their opponents (click here for my blog on the Ka Mate translation).

All Blacks rugby haka
The All Blacks standing in an arrow formation to perform the haka against Australia

The Ka mate haka is synonymous with Maori culture in New Zealand. It’s our most famous haka and there’d barely be a Kiwi male on their OE (overseas experience/gap year) who hasn’t performed it in a London pub! But there are many hakas: schools have their own, iwi (Maori tribes) also have their own.

While most people equate the haka with the start of an All Blacks rugby match, the haka is also done on occasions to honour great people.

One of the most moving things you’ll ever see is a haka done to honour someone like a dignitary with a huge welcome, or at a funeral of a cherished person or leader, or when someone has achieved something great like a gold medal at the Olympics.

See this clip of Palmerston North Boys High School doing a haka in front of the hearse carrying a favourite teacher who passed away suddenly. The haka performed in honour like this always makes me cry.

But in 2005 a new haka was written (which I’ve not seen performed in a pub. Too sacred for that!).

Kapa o pango was first performed by the All Blacks against the South Africa Sprinkboks team in 2005 at Carisbrook, Dunedin. The All Blacks won 31 – 27.

Written by Derek Lardelli of the Ngati Porou iwi, this haka is performed before special test matches – and we the excitable fans never know which one will be performed until they start. If it’s Kapa o Pango the stadium will erupt in cheers because this one is only pulled out a couple of times a year by the All Blacks.

All Blacks at Twickenham
All Blacks v Australia at the Rugby World Cup final 2015 at Twickenham. We won 34-17!

Kapa o pango words

Kapa o pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!
Let me go back to my first gasp of breath

Hi aue, hi!
Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!
It is New Zealand that thunders now

Au, au, aue ha!
And it is my time! 
It is my moment! 

Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!
The passion ignites!
This defines us as the All Blacks

Au, au, aue ha!
And it is my time! 
It is my moment! 

I ahaha!
The anticipation explodes!

Ka tu te ihiihi
Feel the power

Ka tu te wanawana
Our dominance rises

Ki runga ki te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei, hi!
Our supremacy emerges
To 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!

Rugby World Cup 2015 held high
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds the Rugby World Cup aloft in front of our section!

And if you’re a truly mad keen All Blacks fan, jump here for my post on where to download a FREE haka ringtone >>>

Over in my Travel Store I have this great range of All Blacks luggage and travel accessories for delivery NZ-wide (sorry if you’re reading from outside of NZ!)

About Megan Singleton

Megan Singleton

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday and I write for a few newspapers and mags from time to time. I set off on this travel writing journey 19 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!)I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

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  1. Henry AT fotoeins on

    Kia ora, Megan.

    re. Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan: All Blacks vs. Springboks

    StuffNZ mentioned the name of the haka when I searched online, and a further search led me to your article here. Thanks for your article and translation.

    Reply

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