This weekend was a very important one for the people of Roturua, a Maori city in New Zealand who had gathered to break the Guinness Book of World Records for ‘Haka.’ For those who aren’t familiar with the term, Hake is a traditional war cry belonging to the Maori community in New Zealand. It dates to the aboriginal war time years when warriors would perform a traditional war dance to boost the morale of their soldiers before the battle began.

This legacy is carried by the national rugby team of New Zealand even today. Just in case you were wondering why this weekend, of all weekends, was so special. Well, firstly, the British and Irish Lions were setting foot on the Maori land for a rugby match. Although their remains no animosity between the three countries today, it does bring back the memory of the war of 1863 when the British troops invaded New Zealand and fought and defeated the Kingitanga people (Maori). Secondly, New Zealanders were looking at taking back from France the title which they have held in the Guinness World Record for the largest haka of 4028 people since 2014.

 

 

 

 

Haka

 

 

Such intense was the atmosphere on the streets of the Rotorua Village Green this weekend, that you’d get goosebumps if you were standing there. A resounding “Ka Mat,  Ka Mate” (the original and most famous haka) ran in union through the crowd where more than 7700 energetic haka performers had gathered. This not the a simple, usual haka but an attempt to get back at France and enter the Guinness Book Of World Records.

An incredible display of culture was led by Rotorua Boys’ High School students and some of New Zealand’s leading kapa haka champions who performed the haka of Ngāti Toa tribe fame. On the morning of 17th June, All Blacks became obscure as the enthusiastic haka performers chanted on the shores of Lake Rotorua.

 

 

Haka

 

 

Tristan Tuckey, co-founder of the International Rugby Club and the mastermind behind the event, left the visitors in awe as they witnessed the sheer size and volume of the powerful haka. The official record currently stands at 4028 participants but the number to beat, however, was 6200 – a haka performed at Masterton, another city of New Zealand (yet to be ratified).

In a city that sits on an active geothermal landscape of geysers, hot spots and mud pools amid 18 trout-filled lakes, Haka is an endeavour to achieve its own distinct character in the world full of champions.  It will be another 15 weeks before Maori creates its niche in Guinness Records, yet every eye shines with hope.  -JASMINE KAUR

 

 

Watch the video here:

 

 

About: ‘Ka mate, Ka mate’

Ka mate, Ka mate – the original All Black haka – was composed in the early 19th century by famous Māori warrior chief Te Rauparaha, of the Ngāti Toa Rangatira tribe.Te Rauparaha was fleeing an enemy tribe seeking retribution for a past wrong he had committed against them. As he was chased across the central plateau of the North Island, fellow chief Te Wharerangi helped him hide in a pit and then instructed his wife Te Rangikoaea to sit on the pit entrance.After the enemy had moved on, Te Rauparaha emerged from the pit. There, in jubilant celebration of his lucky escape and in front of Te Wharerangi and his people, he performed Ka mate, Ka mate which he had composed while deep in the pit.

 

Ka Mate – translated

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!(I die! I die! I live! I live!)

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!(I die! I die! I live! I live!)

Tēnei te tangata pū huruhuru(This is the hairy person)

Nā na nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā(Who caused the sun to shine again)

A hā pane! A kaupane!(One step up! Another step up!)

A hā pane! A kaupane!(One step up! Another step up!)

Whiti te rā! Hi!(The sun shines!)