It is part of my 52/52 Challenge of 2016 to do small research projects on unexpected things that catch my interest.

Intrigued by this story, I wanted to learn more about a haka. What I knew is that it is a traditional Maori ritual, something the All Blacks do to intimidate their enemy, hence the wide eyes and tongue out. But seeing it filmed from a wedding was confusing. Were they mad because the groom wasn’t, in their eyes, right for the bride?  Then I saw him join in and match them, and then that precious forehead greeting.

After doing some digging, I learned that a haka is, as I thought, a traditional Maori war dance, but is also a ceremony that is done for other reasons, including joyful ones, like at the wedding, as seen in the video above.

This Quora site was the most helpful for me to get an idea of it. It seems like only men can do the haka, but that is a remnant of its original function as a war cry, which the native tribes of New Zealand have done for centuries. It seems that, over time, there have been hakas developed that women can do. It also seems that not just Maori people do it now, but all New Zealanders – Asian, White, Black – which is cool.

I wondered how the dance and words are passed down, and this article from a New Zealand paper suggests that the haka is taught as part of teaching to all children about the Maori culture. The Quora site also refers to understanding the Maori race as important to understanding the haka, that the Maori are very spiritual and connected with the Earth and beings around them, both seen and unseen. To this end, engaging in a haka is a way to connect with and channel energy into a collective purpose and community.

I feel like I know it a little better now; if I have gotten anything wrong or if anyone had more information (has maybe done it themselves!) please feel free to correct me or share in the comments!

NaBloPoMo November 2016

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