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New Zealand Haka

 

New Zealand Haka

New Zealand Haka

The beginnings of the Maori haka are extremely entrenched in the annals of history. It is a tradition rich in legend and folklore which reflects the heritage of the Maori. New Zealand heritage is deeply immersed in haka because the first encounters between early European explorers, settlers, missionaries, and Maoris.


Although contemporary tradition advocates the haka was the exclusive domain of men, history and legends show another story. Actually, the legend of the Ka mate, most famous haka, is all about the control of female sexuality.

 

It is said that the haka was taken from the sun god, Ra. The god Ra had two wives: One who was the spirit of summer named Hine-raumati, and one who was the spirit of winter named Hine-takurua.


When Ra and Hine-raumati consummated their relationship, they had a son named Tanerore. It is possible to see the light dancing on hot summer days. According to legend, the dancing light is Tanerore, the son of Hine-raumati, entertaining his mother. The trembling shimmer or wiriwiri is depicted today in the trembling hands of the haka performer.
 

The trembling shimmer or wiriwiri is depicted today in the trembling hands of the haka performer. There are many stories of the haka in Maori legends and myths.


In the natural world, the first employ of the haka was credited to Chief Tinirau and a few of his womenfolk.


Desiring to exact revenge for the slaughter of his pet whale, Tinirau sent women as a hunting party to discover the man who did it, Kae, an old priest or tohunga. The women had no idea of what Kae looked like, but they did know that he had uneven crooked teeth.


Upon arriving at Kae's village, they started to dance the haka to make the men smile so that they can uncover the killer’s identity.

 

Apparently, the ruse worked because Kae was soon captured and brought back to the village of Tinirau where he was subsequently executed.

For many people, the haka is a dance about war. This is logical as many have only seen the performance of the haka as a before the fight challenge to their opponents.
 

But "haka" in Maori just means a dance, or a song with by dance. While these are the right terms to correlate with the haka, they do not fully justify the life force, the movements, words, themes, rhythm, meaning, history, or style that make up the haka.

Although there are many differences between the kinds of war dance, the common denominator is that they are all danced with weapons.

During pre-European and times of early contact, the haka was performed as a component of the formal course when two groups had meetings.

Haka New Zealand
 

One example of such an encounter was when a challenge from the tangata whenua (tribe) was followed by a reply from the manuhiri (visiting group).

This encounter ended the performance of the haka peruperu by a tangata whenua. The visitors then responded with their own performance of a haka. After speeches made by both parties, they all moved together to hongi, which is the traditional greeting involving the pressing of noses.
 

 

  

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