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The All Blacks do the Haka during the England versus New Zealand autumn international rugby union match at Twickenham Stadium on November 16th 2013 in London (Photo by Tom Jenkins)

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Created by an indigenous community known as the “Maori” is a dance style known as Haka. This “war” dance is said to have originated from New Zealand. This dance was essentially developed to be performed before a battle. Furthermore, there exist three types of Haka, and they include whakatu waewae, tutu ngarahu and peruperu. In addition, this dance style is renowned for energetic dance movements as well as for loud and aggressive chanting by the performers.

a. History/origin of the Haka:

According to the cultural history of New Zealand and the Maori community, this dance was originally conceived to be performed before battle by warriors so as to essentially intimidate the enemy. However, over the years this dance has been performed mainly as a social dance in functions such as welcome ceremonies rather than before a war. Furthermore, this dance has also been popularized over the years by the New Zealand Rugby Union team known as the “All Blacks” who perform it prior to every international match they play. Apparently, the origin of this dance is closely linked to a Maori myth related to a sun god named Tama-nui-te-ra worshipped by the community. It is said that this sun god had a wife and son named Hine-raumati and Tane-rore respectively. Now, according to the Maori community, one day the son supposedly danced for his mother. It was this dance performed by Tan-rore that was then used by the community as a foundation to develop this dance now known as “Haka”.

b. Costumes used in the Haka:

The traditional “Kapa Haka” costume is mainly used in this dance style. However, this costume varies according to the gender as follows:

1. For males:

The Kapa Haka costume will include a Piupiu skirt and a headband.

2. For females:

The Kapa Haka costume will include elastic shoulder straps, a Piupiu skirt, and a headband.

c. Music involved in the Haka:

No musical instrument or ensemble is actually used in this unique “war” dance. Furthermore, the performers make use of strong chanting while performing.

d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Haka:

In terms of technique, this war dance basically involves the use of extremely vigorous body movements. Furthermore, the performers also stamp their feet in rhythm with the accompanying chanting.  As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “war” dance is mainly performed by the Maori community in New Zealand.

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