The Kiwi’s will perform the Haka when they face the Lions in the 1st test next week
THE British and Irish Lions have gotten used to seeing ‘the Haka’ on their tour of New Zealand this summer, and will face it again on Saturday.
Warren Gatland’s assembled team from the UK and Ireland continue their build up into the first test match against the All Blacks next week with a game against the Maori All Blacks tomorrow morning.
And like their first four games, they will be met by the Haka before kick-off in what is one of sport’s greatest and most spectacular sights.
But where has the Haka originated from, and why is it performed and adored by the people of New Zealand, both in and outside of ruby?
What is it?
The Haka is a traditional war cry and dance that is seen as a challenge from the Maori people, and describes the ancestors and events from the history of the tribe.
Performed by the national side before every kick-off, the dance involves the stamping of feet, slapping of hands on the body and several facial contortions involving the tongue and eyes.
It generally begins with the words: “Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!”, which means: “I die! I die! I live! I live!”
Here are several other lines from the Haka:
Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru: This is the hairy man
Nāna nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā: Who brought the sun and caused it to shine
Ā, upane! ka upane!: A step upward, another step upward!
Ā, upane, ka upane, whiti te ra: A step upward, another… the Sun shines!
What are the origins?
It was first performed by the New Zealand Native rugby team in 1888 and 1889, and has been carried on by the All Blacks since 1905.
The original Haka was composed in the early 19th Century by a Maori warrior chief called Te Rauparaha.
How do other teams approach it?
National sides who receive the Haka have approached it in different ways on the pitch, with some causing controversy.
Traditionally, the team will stand opposite in one line, either with their arms around their teammates or just side by side.
In 1989, Ireland walked towards the Haka, while in a 2003 World Cup group stage clash against Tonga, both sides performed war dances at the same time.
The last time the Lions toured New Zealand in 2005, they stood in a formation to symbolise their strength against the All Blacks, and the Haka.
2008 also saw controversy, as Warren Gatland’s Wales refused to turn their backs on the Haka in the Millenium Stadium, resulting in a Mexican stand-off that lasted a few minutes.
When else is it performed?
The Haka is also performed across the country at funerals, weddings and in certain school presentations and celebrations.
Players past and present, as well as members of the public, performed special Hakas for the deaths of All Black and rugby lengends Jonah Lomu and Jerry Collins in recent times.