The boys of the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, popularized the Haka Maori thanks to the amazing execution of this impressive ancestral dance before each match. The combination of body percussion and screaming made them look fearsome.
Thus, many people became fond of the All Blacks seduced by this curious ritual dance, but many wonder what it means and where it comes from.

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1. What does the Maori Haka mean
? 2. What relationship does it have with rugby?
3. Most remembered reactions to the Maori Haka.

What does the Maori Haka mean

When the All Blacks made the Maori Haka famous , many wondered what it meant. Haka is any of the traditional dances of the Maori tribes, and has a double meaning: it can serve as a welcome, or as an intimidation.
The Maori are an ethnic group of Polynesian origin that settled in New Zealand after successive migrations. The competition for the territory led them to become a fearsome warrior people who practiced animist rituals.including cannibalism. English colonization, however, reduced them to small peasant colonies.
Among its ritual practices, as often happens in tribes with animist beliefs, dance fulfills a ritual function in which the forces of nature are invoked through the body. The Maori tribes developed a group of dances encompassed in the Haka, which they could use to welcome, but also to instill fear in invaders.
As usually happens in these cases, colonization also resulted in a progressive loss of customs, so that this dance was relegated to oblivion, until a rugby team rescued it to surprise everyone .

What is the relationship between Haka Maori and rugby?
It was on August 28, 2005, in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup, when the players of the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks, began a ritual based on body percussion and shouts in a tribal language. In addition to the All Blacks, three other teams performed their Maori Haka, offering interesting Haka duels on some occasions .
Then, the world began to talk about this strange dance that was really impressive and to wonder about its meaning. However, as early as 1884, the New Zealand national rugby team performed a haka before each match , and the intimidation of rivals made them more than one success. Little by little, the dance became popular.
In the world of rugby, the rivalry that comes from pride is as strong as the solidarity and camaraderie between rivals: with an apparent aggressiveness on the pitch, the players profess a deep respect for each other. That is why the Haka has an even more special meaning in rugby: it is both a welcome song to the rival and an act of intimidation .
But let’s go more in detail. Since there are several Maori Hakas, let’s see what each of them means.

1. Haka Ka Mate

One of the best known Maori Hakas is the Haka Ka Make , which has been performed for many years and the All Blacks themselves began to perform it in their matches since 1903, with different versions until now.
Tradition has it that the Haka Ka Mate is a composition originating from the tribal leader Te Rauparaha to commemorate that he had escaped death after a fight against an enemy tribe. In fact, Ka Mate in the Maori language means “I die” , and that was what Te Rauparaha said, while the choir answered Ka Ora, which means “I live”.

Haka Ka Mate lyrics translated:

This is the hairy man
Who made the sun shine again for me Up
the ladder, up the ladder,
To the top
The sun shines. Hello!
To escape his adversaries, Te Rauparaha hid in a food storage pit, and escaped with the help of a local chief whose trademark was an abundance of hair. Hence the meaning of the lyrics, which is a thanks for survival .

Haka Kapa O Pango
However, the most original is the one that the All Blacks made fashionable in the 2005 World Cup, a new Haka called Haka Kapa O Pango.
Until then, the players of the historic team used to reproduce the Maori Haka known as Haka Ka Mate, but for more than a year and with the advice of experts in Maori culture, they prepared and rehearsed this new Haka with a more than suggestive content.

Haka Kapa O Pango lyrics
All Blacks! Let me be one with the land,
This is our land that sounds,
It’s my time, it’s my time!
This defines us as the All Blacks,
It’s my time, it’s my time!
Our dominance,
Our supremacy will triumph
And we’ll be revered accordingly
We’ll be up,
Silver Fern, All Blacks!
What surprised this Maori Haka is its aggressiveness and precision in execution . She was introduced by a forceful and imposing staging of the team captain, Tana Umaga, who made the sign of the cut throat with her thumb on the neck.
Afterwards, the team members slapped each other on the bodywhile they uttered shouts, with some surprising movements: they stuck out their tongues in an expressive way, and gave violent blows with their feet. At times it took on a truly terrifying appearance, although this dance above all transmits unity and an appeal to courage.

Memorable reactions to the All Blacks Maori Haka
Fans of the sport eagerly await the participation of the New Zealand team to enjoy their vibrant Maori Haka, and on some occasions the attitude of the rival has made the scene even more exciting.
In particular, the Haka stands out, which the Tonga national team, the Ikale Tahi, has performed in response on more than one occasion. In this case, in fact, it is not called Haka, but Kailao,an ancestral ritual dance of this Polynesian island . The first time they performed it, in 2003, both teams ended up dancing face to face, quite a show.
The Kailao of Tonga is called “Sipi Tau” and has a very similar choreography to the Maori Haka, since it is initiated by the team captain , who marks the team’s expressions. “I will mow down and maim the strikers, and tear the fiercest of hearts to pieces. I drink from the ocean and I dine on fire, death or victory is alright,” reads the lyrics.
However, one of the most original responses to the All Blacks’ intimidation came at the Welsh combine in 2008. Before the shouts and punches of the New Zealand team, the Welsh remained defiant without batting an eyelash.. Both teams stared petrified during the tensest two minutes in rugby history.
The bravest, if one can say so, have been the French. On one occasion they advanced, led by their captain Sebastien Chabal, to within inches of the New Zealand team. In 2011 they did the same but forming an arrow , being penalized with defeat and 2,880 when the international federation considered that they had violated the ritual.
The Maori Haka also made an impact in Scotland, where it inspired a mocking television commercial: bare-chested players in the famous plaid kilt approach their New Zealand rivals at the end of their Haka and raise their hands. skirt.

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