The haka (/ˈhɑːkə/;[1] plural haka, in both Māori and English) is a ceremonial dance or challenge in Māori culture.[2] It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. Although commonly associated with the traditional battle preparations of male warriors, haka have long been performed by both men and women,[3] and several varieties of the dance fulfil social functions within Māori culture.[4][5] Haka are performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals.

Kapa haka (performing arts, literally line dance) groups are very common in schools.[6] The main Māori performing arts competition, Te Matatini, takes place every two years.[7]

All Blacks performing the haka

New Zealand sports teams' practice of performing a haka before their international matches has made the haka 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 ("All Blacks") since 1905.[8] This is considered by some Māori to be a form of cultural appropriation.[9][10]

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


The group of people performing a haka is referred to as a kapa haka (kapa meaning row or rank). The Māori word haka has cognates in other Polynesian languages, for example: Tongan haka, 'hand action while singing'; Samoan saʻa, Tokelau haka, Rarotongan ʻaka, Hawaiian haʻa, Marquesan haka, all meaning 'dance'; Mangarevan ʻaka, 'to dance in traditional fashion; dance accompanied by chant, usually of a warlike nature'. In some languages, the meaning is divergent, for example in Tikopia saka means to 'perform rites in traditional ritual system'. The form reconstructed for Proto-Polynesian is *saka, deriving ultimately from Proto-Oceanic *saŋka(g). It may also be cognate to the Austronesian languages' words in Cebuano and Tagalog, sayaw, meaning dance or martial art.

History and practice

New Zealand Maori Culture 001 (5396249586)
When performed by men,[11] the haka features protruding of the tongue.


According to Kāretu, the haka has been "erroneously defined by generations of uninformed as 'war dances'",[12] whereas Māori mythology places haka as the dance "about the celebration of life".[13] According to its 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 the haka of Tāne-rore, the son of Hine-raumati and Tama-nui-te-rā.[14][15] Hyland comments that "[t]he haka is (and also represents) a natural phenomena; on hot summer days, the 'shimmering' atmospheric distortion of air emanating from the ground is personified as 'Te Haka a Tānerore'".[16]

Jackson and Hokowhitu state, "haka is the generic name for all types of dance or ceremonial performance that involve movement."[2] The various types of haka include whakatū waewae, tūtū ngārahu and peruperu.[14] 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 or other occasions involving death. Like the ngeri they were performed without weapons, and there was little or no choreographed movement.[14]

War haka (peruperu) were originally performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition.[9] 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[3]), 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. 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.[14]

18th and 19th centuries

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

The earliest Europeans to witness the haka were invariably struck by its vigour and ferocity.[17] 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 omittd which can render a human shape frightful and deformd, which I suppose they think terrible."[18]

From their arrival in the early 19th century, Christian missionaries strove unsuccessfully to eradicate the 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 the haka and traditional Māori chants (waiata) with hymns. Missionaries also encouraged European harmonic singing as part of the process of conversion.[17]

The use of the 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.[19] 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."[20]

Modern haka

Haka for Lord Ranfurly 1904
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.[3] 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 the haka during an international tour.[21] The common use of haka by the national rugby union team ("All Blacks") before matches, beginning with The Original All Blacks in 1905,[8] has made one type of haka familiar.[22]

E 003261 E Maoris in North Africa July 1941
Māori Battalion haka in Egypt, 1941

The haka has been a contested source of cultural appropriation. The 1979 annual "haka party" parade at the University of Auckland – in which engineering students persisted in parodying the 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. The protesters included Hone Harawira, later a Member of Parliament.[23] Several of the engineering students were assaulted, and members of He Taua were arrested.[24] Their court case in Auckland sparked anti-racism protests outside the courthouse.

The choreographed dance and chant popularised around the world by the All Blacks derives from "Ka Mate",[25] 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.[26] The "Ka Mate" haka is classified as a haka taparahi – a ceremonial haka. "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".[25] 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",[27] and was now "the most globally recognised form of cultural appropriation".[10] 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 agreements between Ngāti Toa and the New Zealand Government and New Zealand Rugby Union, as published in 2009.[28][29]

Cultural impact

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

In the 21st century, kapa haka is offered as a subject in universities, including the study of haka, and is practised in schools and military institutions.[30] In addition to the national Te Matatini competition,[7] local and regional competitions attract dozens of teams and thousands of spectators.[30]

The All Blacks' use of the haka has become the most widely known, but several other New Zealand sports teams now perform the haka before commencing a game. These include the national rugby league team ("the Kiwis"),[31] and the men's national basketball team ("Tall Blacks").[32]

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.[33] Sizeable flashmob haka were performed in Wellington[34] and Auckland,[35] as well as London, which has a large New Zealander immigrant community.[36]

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.[37]

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.[38] 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.[39] In March 2019, following the Christchurch mosque shootings, school pupils and other groups performed haka to honour those killed in the attacks.[40]

Three or four American football teams are known to perform the haka as a pregame ritual. 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 the haka as a pregame ritual during the 2006 season,[41] and the practice has spread to a number of other teams; however, this has been criticised as inappropriate and disrespectful.[42][43]

See also

Similar dances


Inline citations

  1. ^ "haka noun". Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Jackson & Hokowhitu 2002, p. 70.
  3. ^ a b c Haka is also the plural form in Māori Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Haka, Maori dance". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. ^ Simon 2015.
  6. ^ "Kapa haka in mainstream schools – Affirming Māori students as Māori | SchoolNews – New Zealand". www.schoolnews.co.nz. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b DANZ Quarterly, p. 6.
  8. ^ a b Hunt 2015.
  9. ^ a b Simon 2015, p. 88.
  10. ^ a b Hokowhitu 2014, p. 273.
  11. ^ "Haka – Ka Mate". www.themaori.com. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  12. ^ Kāretu 1993b, p. 37.
  13. ^ Simon 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d McLintock 1966.
  15. ^ Simon 2015, p. 87.
  16. ^ Hyland 2015, p. 69.
  17. ^ a b Smith 2014a.
  18. ^ Kāretu 1993a, p. 22.
  19. ^ "New Zealand's first royal visit". nzhistory.govt.nz. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  20. ^ 13 April 1869, Wellington Independent, p. 3. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  21. ^ Ryan 1993, p. 46.
  22. ^ "History of the All Black haka". Tourism New Zealand. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  23. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (2 May 2009). "Haka brawl rivals unite to remember". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  24. ^ Walker 2004, p. 220–7.
  25. ^ a b "Chant composed by Te Rauparaha". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  26. ^ Jackson & Hokowhitu 2002, p. 129.
  27. ^ Kāretu 1994b, p. 68.
  28. ^ "New Zealand Maori win haka fight". BBC News. 11 February 2009.
  29. ^ Ngāti Toa Rangatira Letter of Agreement Archived 21 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ a b Smith 2014b.
  31. ^ Burgess, Michael (31 October 2018). "Rugby League: Kiwis perform haka for Liverpool football players". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  32. ^ "New Zealand haka war dance bewilders USA basketball team". The Guardian. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  33. ^ "Maori leaders at odds over flash mob haka". 3 News NZ. 20 September 2011. Archived from the original on 27 December 2011.
  34. ^ "Wellington haka attracts hundreds". 3 News NZ. 8 September 2011.
  35. ^ "Flash mob haka on Auckland's Queen Street ahead of RWC opener All Blacks vs Tonga". 3 News NZ. 9 September 2011.
  36. ^ "Flashmob haka takes over Trafalgar Square". 3 News NZ. 19 November 2011.
  37. ^ "Maori take on Gangnam Style in Korea". 3 News. 30 November 2012.
  38. ^ "Team New Zealand vs Team Australia Haka". Blood and Thunder World Cup Official Facebook. 7 December 2014.
  39. ^ "Team New Zealand Haka". Blood and Thunder World Cup Official Youtube. 1 December 2011.
  40. ^ Hassan, Jennifer; Tamkin, Emily (2019-03-18). "The power of the haka: New Zealanders pay traditional tribute to mosque attack victims". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  41. ^ "2006 Hawaii Bowl UH over ASU – UH Haka". YouTube. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  42. ^ Sygall, David (2015-10-01). "New Zealanders outraged over awkward haka performed by Arizona Wildcats college football team". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  43. ^ Carpenter, Cam (2015-09-28). "Mixed reaction to an American haka". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2018-10-11.

General references

External links

Media related to Haka at Wikimedia Commons

1995 Veikkausliiga

The 1995 Veikkausliiga was a season of the Veikkausliiga, the top level football league in Finland. It was contested by 14 teams, with Haka Valkeakoski winning the championship.

1997 Finnish Cup

The 1997 Finnish Cup (Finnish: Suomen Cup) was the 43rd season of the main annual association football cup competition in Finland. It was organised as a single-elimination knock–out tournament and participation in the competition was voluntary. The final was held at the Olympic Stadium, Helsinki on 25 October 1997 with FC Haka defeating TPS by 2-1 (aet) before an attendance of 4,107 spectators.

2006 Veikkausliiga

The 2006 season of the Veikkausliiga the 17th season in the league's history, began on April 19 and ended on October 29.

The league was originally supposed to have 14 teams, but AC Allianssi was refused a license, and the league was subsequently played with only 13 teams.

2008 Veikkausliiga

The 2008 season of Veikkausliiga was the seventy-eighth season of top-tier football in Finland. It started on 27 April 2008 and ended on 26 October 2008. The defending champions were Tampere United.

2012 Veikkausliiga

The 2012 Veikkausliiga is the eighty-second season of top-tier football in Finland. It began on 15 April 2012 and ended on 27 October 2012. HJK Helsinki were the defending champions and successfully defended their title.

FC Haka

FC Haka is a Finnish football club based in the industry town of Valkeakoski, and currently competing in Finland's second division, Ykkönen. It is one of the most successful clubs in Finland, with nine Finnish championships and 12 Finnish Cup wins.

Finnish Cup

The Finnish Cup (Finnish: Suomen cup; Swedish: Finlands cup) is Finland's main national cup competition in football. This yearly competition is open for all member clubs of the FA of Finland and has been played since 1955.

Finnish Cup winner qualifies to UEFA Europa League.

Flash mob

A flash mob (or flashmob) is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. Flash mobs are organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.The term, coined in 2003, is generally not applied to events and performances organized for the purposes of politics (such as protests), commercial advertisement, publicity stunts that involve public relation firms, or paid professionals. In these cases of a planned purpose for the social activity in question, the term smart mobs is often applied instead.

The term "flash rob" or "flash mob robberies", a reference to the way flash mobs assemble, has been used to describe a number of robberies and assaults perpetrated suddenly by groups of teenage youth. Bill Wasik, originator of the first flash mobs, and a number of other commentators have questioned or objected to the usage of "flash mob" to describe criminal acts.

Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no Haka) is a 1988 Japanese animated war film based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. It was written and directed by Isao Takahata, and animated by Studio Ghibli for the story's publisher Shinchosha Publishing (making it the only Studio Ghibli film under Tokuma Shoten ownership that had no involvement from them). The film stars Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara and Akemi Yamaguchi. Set in the city of Kobe, Japan, the film tells the story of two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, and their desperate struggle to survive during the final months of the Second World War.

Haka (sports)

The haka, a traditional dance of the Māori people, has been used in sports in New Zealand and overseas. The challenge has been adopted by the New Zealand national rugby union team, the "All Blacks", and a number of other New Zealand national teams perform before their international matches; some non-New Zealand sports teams have also adopted the haka.

Hakha Chin language

Hakha Chin, or Lai, is a Kuki-Chin language spoken by 446,264 people, mostly in Myanmar. The total figure includes 2,000 Zokhua and 60,100 Lai speakers. The speakers are largely concentrated in Chin State in western Burma and Mizoram in eastern India, with a small number of speakers in southeastern Bangladesh.

Ka Mate

"Ka Mate" is a Māori haka composed by Te Rauparaha, war leader of the Ngāti Toa tribe of the North Island of New Zealand.

Kapa haka

Kapa haka is the term for Māori performing arts and literally means to form a line (kapa) and dance (haka). Kapa haka is an avenue for Māori people to express and showcase their heritage and cultural Polynesian identity through song and dance.

Kapa haka dates back to pre-European times where it developed from all traditional forms of Maori pastimes; haka, mau rakau (Maori weaponry), poi (ball attached to rope or string) and moteatea (traditional Maori songs). These everyday activities were influential to the development of kapa haka.

A kapa haka performance involves choral singing, dance and movements associated in the hand-to-hand combat practised by Māori in mainly precolonial times, presented in a synchronisation of action, timing, posture, footwork and sound. The genre evolved out of a combination of European and Māori musical principles.

List of New Zealand rugby union haka performances

This is a list of haka performances by the New Zealand national rugby union team since the introduction of "Kapa o Pango" in 2005 as an alternative to "Ka Mate". It includes which haka was performed and which player lead the haka before the test match.


Mestaruussarja (Championship series) was the top division of Finnish football from 1930 to 1989. It was replaced by Veikkausliiga in 1990.

In 1930 league format was used for the first time to decide Finnish champion. Before that from 1908 to 1929 the championship was decided with cup competition. The league was dominated by clubs from Helsinki, Turku and Vyborg. The first champion was HIFK Fotboll from Helsinki. In 1935 four best clubs were from Helsinki and in 1934 and 1936 top three clubs also came from Helsinki. From 1908 to 1940 the championship went outside Helsinki on only six occasions. Kuopio was the first inland city to get into the league when Pallotoverit were promoted in 1938. During World War I years the league was sometimes cut short, abandoned or decided with cup competition instead. In 1940s TUL clubs also participated.

The last Mestaruussarja season was 1989 and FC Kuusysi was crowned as the last champions. The new top level division was at first called SM-liiga and later renamed as Veikkausliiga.

Mestaruussarja consisted of 8 clubs when it was founded. It was later expanded to ten and at the time of dissolution league had 12 clubs. The league's popularity peaked in 1960s. Ten HJK matches between 1964 and 1969 had more than 10,000 spectators. The highest attendance was 17,293 between HJK and FC Haka in 1965. Highest average attendance was 3,071 in 1967, a figure that is yet to be beaten by current Veikkausliiga.

New Zealand national rugby union team

The New Zealand national rugby union team, called the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in men's rugby union, which is known as the country's national sport. The team has won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015 as well as the inaugural tournament in 1987.

They have a 77% winning record in test match rugby, and are the only international men’s side with a winning record against every opponent. Since their international debut in 1903, they have lost to only six of the 19 nations they have played in test matches. Since the introduction of the World Rugby Rankings in 2003, New Zealand has held the number one ranking longer than all other teams combined. The All Blacks jointly hold the record for the most consecutive test match wins for a tier one ranked nation, along with England.

New Zealand competes with Argentina, Australia and South Africa in The Rugby Championship. The All Blacks have won the trophy sixteen times in the competition's twenty-three-year history. New Zealand have completed a Grand Slam tour four times – 1978, 2005, 2008 and 2010. The All Blacks have been named the World Rugby Team of the Year ten times since the award was created in 2001, and an All Black has won the World Rugby Player of the Year award ten times over the same period. Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.

The team's first match was in 1884, and their first international test match was in 1903 against Australia in Sydney. The following year, they hosted their first ever home test, a match against a British Isles side in Wellington. This was followed by a 34-game (including 5 tests) tour of Europe and North America in 1905, where the team suffered only one defeat – their first ever test loss, against Wales.

New Zealand's early uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By the 1905 tour, they were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, and the name All Blacks dates from this time. The team perform a haka, a Māori challenge or posture dance, before each match. The haka has traditionally been Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate, although since 2005 Kapa o Pango has also been performed.

Te Matatini

Te Matatini is a nation-wide Māori performing arts festival and competition for kapa haka performers from all of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The name was given by Professor Wharehuia Milroy, a composite of Te Mata meaning the face and tini denoting many — hence the meaning of Te Matatini is many faces.

The Te Matatini festival is held every two years in different regions of New Zealand. Authority (mana) is given to different tribes (iwi) to host the festival. For example, in 2017 the mana was given to Te Whanganui-a-Tara on behalf of the Ngāti Kahungunu (Heretaunga) region.

Mead (2003) explains, Mana is undergone by a set of rules before it is given, the people or person in charge has to accept these constraints and strive to rise above them in order to do the job that is set before them.

Te Matatini is seen as playing a very important role within Maoridom in promoting the tikanga of the Māori culture and Kapa Haka. It provides a valuable experience for the people of New Zealand and others from all around the world, with the festival attracting up to 30,000 participants and spectators. Te Matatini celebrates the Maori culture, its beauty, and its core values. Kapa Haka is a form of Maori identity and contributes to New Zealand being unique.

The Te Matatini Society is the driving force behind Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival. Initially emerging in the late 1960s, it has evolved into the sponsor of a variety of Maori festivals and Polynesian events. The society in its current form was established in 1972 and has focused on the long term nurturing of Maori performing arts.


Veikkausliiga (Swedish: Tipsligan) is the premier division of Finnish football, comprising the top 12 clubs of the country. Its main sponsor is the Finnish national betting agency Veikkaus, hence the league's name. Veikkausliiga was founded in 1990; before that the top division was called Mestaruussarja (championship series) since 1930 which was an amateur or semi-professional league. Between 1908 and 1930 the championship was decided in a cup competition.

Ykkönen (division one) has been the second highest level of Finnish football since 1973.

During the 1990 and 1991 seasons the Veikkausliiga was played under the name "Futisliiga" (Swedish: Fotbollsligan).As with certain other cold-climate European countries, league matches in Finland are played in summer, with a schedule usually from April to October. The format and number of teams has changed frequently, and as of 2016 there are 12 teams, with each team playing the others three times, for 33 rounds during the season. The best six teams from the previous season play 17 home matches, while the other six teams play 16 home matches. At the end of the season, the lowest-placed team is relegated to Ykkönen, whose winner is promoted to Veikkausliiga, and the second-worst team plays a two-leg play-off versus the Ykkönen runner-up.

In 2010 the average annual salary with fringe benefits for a league player was 24,400 euro. Veikkausliiga is a founding member of the European Professional Football Leagues association.


Ykkönen (Finnish for 'Number One'; Swedish: Ettan) is the second highest level of the Finnish football league system (after the Veikkausliiga), although it is the highest league managed by the Football Association of Finland.

Broad culture

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