Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Haka

Because I grew up in Hawaii, I am fascinated by the Polynesian culture and basically anything tribal. One thing that I love about the culture is the chants and dances. Here is a little background on The Haka.

"Haka are not exclusively war dances, nor are they only performed by men. Some are performed by women, others by mixed groups, and some simple haka are performed by children. Haka are performed for various reasons: for amusement, as a hearty welcome to distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements or occasions (McLean 1996:46-47). War haka (peruperu) were originally performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition. Today, haka constitute an integral part of formal or official welcome ceremonies for distinguished visitors or foreign dignitaries, serving to impart a sense of the importance of the occasion.

Various actions are employed in the course of a performance, including facial contortions such as showing the whites of the eyes and the poking out of the tongue, and a wide variety of vigorous body actions such as slapping the hands against the body and stamping 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." - wikipedia

One of my favorite forms of The Haka is Ka Mate. Today, most people know of Ka Mate because of The All Blacks New Zealand Rugby team. I have known about it since I was little but it was brought to my attention again when I saw the movie Forever Strong. I feel that many sports teams should do this in order to get their adrenaline pumping before a game, and/or to intimidate the enemy. And don't think that just because you aren't Polynesian that you cannot do it, I have seen many white people doing it, but of course they were within a group of people that were Polynesian. Now if anyone actually decides they want to try it, don't do it just for fun, because you could be coming off as mocking it. This dance, along with all other aspects of this culture should be respected.

Now I am not much of a sports fan, but I have recently become very interested in Rugby. And I'd say that Rugby is the only sport that I'd actually follow, and I plan to start following it, but here is a video of the All Blacks doing the Haka:

This next video is a very cool commercial for the All Blacks:

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