Sport plays a big part in New Zealand life – and Rugby (Rugby Union) and New Zealand’s “All Blacks” open their games by singing the ‘Haka’. This traditional Maori war dance involves semi squatting while clapping hands on the thighs, making scary face expressions, raising a fist while holding the elbow with the other hand and poking out the tongue all the while almost chanting the song as they do so.
Seeing the ‘All Blacks’ – made up of both Maori and Pakeha players – representing ALL of New Zealand is a great sight to see, and these are the words that they sing.
The idea is to scare the enemy into retreat or engender fear in their opponents, and some players may even have tattooed faces, arms and legs to add to the intimidation.
The Haka has to be one of the most dramatic starts to any sport being played in the world, and if you get the chance to see a live match – take the opportunity to see this unique part of the game.
THE WORDS –
Introduction: Ringa pakia. Uma tiraha. Turi Whatia. Hope whai ake. Waewae takahia kia kino
Main verse: Ka mate! Ka Mate! Ka ora! Ka Ora!
Repeat: Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Last section: Tenai Te Tangata Puhuru huru. Nana nei tiki mai. Whakawhiti te ra.
A upa ne ka up ane. Upane, Kaupane. Whiti te ra.
New Zealanders also play Rugby League and Cricket – and there is fierce rivalry between New Zealand and Australia in most sports – extending to Netball, Yachting, tennis, horse racing and other sports too – but it is the Haka on the rugby field that really stands out as something distinctly New Zealand.