The Haka.............. Essay

This essay has a total of 484 words and 4 pages.

The Haka..............

What is Haka? The Maori people have always excelled in the art of haka, which is the
generic term for Maori dance. Henare Teowai of Ngati Porou, an acknowledged master of the
art of haka was asked on his death-bed, "What is the art of performing haka?". He replied:
"Kia korero te katoa o te tinana." (The whole body should speak). Another definition was
provided by Alan Armstrong in his book Maori Games and Haka (Reed,1964) as follows. "The
haka is a composition played by any instruments. Hands, feet, legs, body, voice, tongue,
and eyes all play their part in blending together to convey in their fullness the
challenge, welcome, exultation, defiance or contempt of the words." "It is disciplined,
yet emotional. More than any other aspect of Maori culture, this complex dance is an
expression of the passion, vigour and identity of the race. It is at it's best, truly, a
message of the soul expressed by words and posture.." One of the initial refrains which
the leader of the haka utters just prior to everyone performing the haka itself is shown
below. These words simply serve to remind the performers how to comport themselves when
they do the haka. They should be shouted out in a ferocious and staccato manner, designed
to instil strength and determination into the performers, such that they enact the haka
with the power and force required


Perparation for Haka

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

Slap the hands against the thighs
Puff out the chest
Bend the knees
Let the hip follow
Stamp the feet as hard as you can

Also essential to the art of haka are pukana (dilating of the eyes), whetero (protruding
of the tongue performed by men only), ngangahu (similar to pukana, performed by both
sexes), and potete (the closing of the eyes at different points in the dance, performed by
the women only). These expressions are used at various times in the performance to lend
meaning and force to the words. It is important to realise that haka are generally not
Continues for 2 more pages >>