Saturday, 8 September 2007

That fearsome Haka

Many of you will have watched the All Blacks beat Italy last night, and I wonder how many of you saw the traditional and sacred Haka. What is the significance of the Haka ?

The Te Rauparaha Haka is the most common, but since 2005 there is another version, the Kapa o pango Haka:

These are the words of the Te Rauparaha Haka:

Before the Haka is performed by the team, the Haka leader, normally an All Black of Maori descent, will instigate the Haka and spur on those who are to perform the Haka with the following.

Ringa pakia
Uma tiraha
Turi whatia
Hope whai ake
Waewae takahia kia kino

Then the team starts the Haka as a group,

Ka mate Ka mate
It is death It is death
Ka ora Ka ora
It is life
It is life
Ka mate Ka mate
It is death It is death
Ka ora Ka ora
It is life It is life
Tenei Te Tangata Puhuruhuru
This is the hairy man
Nana i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra
Who caused the sun to shine again for me
Upane Upane
Up the ladder Up the ladder
Upane Kaupane
Up to the top
Whiti te ra
The sun shines!

The haka is a war dance. The words are chanted loudly (shouted) in a menacing way accompanied by arm actions and foot stamping. A haka was traditionally performed before charging into battle.
The Maori pronunciation is basically one vowel per syllable, with the vowels having the European rather than English sound. The `wh' is aspirated almost like an `f' (f is good enough for most people).
As for what it all means, about 140 years ago, a great chief named Te Rauparaha of the Ngati Toa tribe (based just North of present day Wellington), was being chased by his enemies. He hid in a kumara pit (the local sweet potato) and waited in the dark for his pursuers to find him. He heard sounds above and thought he was done for when the top of the pit was opened up and sunshine flooded in. He was blinded and struggled to see those about to slay him, when his sight cleared and he instead saw the hairy legs of the local chief (reputed to have been exceptionally hirsute) who had hid him. Te Rauparaha is said to have jumped from the pit and performed this haka on the spot, so happy was he to have escaped.

Kapa o pango haka:

This haka was first performed by the All Blacks versus South Africa on 27 August 2005 at Carisbrook, Dunedin. The All Blacks won 31 - 27. This haka was written by Ngati Porou's Derek Lardelli. This haka will only be performed before special test matches.Kapa o pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!Let me become one with the land

Hi aue, hi! Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!
This is our land that rumbles
Au, au, aue ha!
And it's my time!
It's my moment!
Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!
This defines us as the All Blacks
Au, au, aue ha!
It's my time!
It's my moment!
I ahaha! Ka tu te ihiihi
Our dominance
Ka tu te wanawana
Our supremacy will triumph
Ki runga ki te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei, hi!
And will 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!


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