For those of you that don’t know, The haka is a traditional war cry, war dance, or challenge in Māori culture.
It is a performance (dance) by a group with sharp movements and stomping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.
The war haka traditional dance was originally performed by Maori warriors before entering a battle to demonstrate their strength and intimidate the opponents.
Over the years, haka was also performed to warmly welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements. And it may also be performed on weddings and funerals.
It was mostly widely known around the globe when New Zealand sports teams started to perform the dance before their international matches.
It all began with 1888-89 New Zealand Native football team tour and ti was conveyed on by the New Zealand rugby union team (“All Blacks”) since 1905.
“Ka Mate” haka performance by the All Blacks
“Ka Mate” is a haka that has been the most performed haka by the All Blacks when they play against international teams.
It is a ceremonial haka that was written by Te Rauparaha.
The ceremonial haka means “life triumphing over death”.
Te Rauparaha originally created the haka after he narrowly escaped death at the hands of enemy tribes from Ngāti Maniapoto and Waikato by hiding in a dark food storage pit.
When he came out of it, he was greeted by light and a friendly tribe chief.
The famous first line, “Ka mate, ka mate! ka ora! ka ora!” means “I might die! I might die! I may live! I may live!” And the last line, “Ā, upane, ka upane, whiti te ra! Hi!” translates into “A step upward, another… the Sun shines! Rise!”
It’s a very powerful performance, and it means a lot to boost up the self confidence of the All Blacks and intimidate the opponents.
And on the record, All Blacks are considered one of the most dominant teams in all of sport!