Although I am not particularly a ‘rugby fan,’ I used to enjoy matches before the clubs started to go professional; I don’t understand it fully, but the new style clubs leave me cold. I have seen a couple of these games and now have turned my back completely on New Zealand’s national sport.

Having said all that, the haka has been an integral part of NZ rugby since I remember. We were taught the haka Ka Mate at primary school, I can still chant it some 50+ years later.

Pretty wicked, huh?

I have just finished reading a BBC News article on the haka. I learned several things that I didn’t know before. Like the history:

“There are many different kinds of haka and the Maori use them for a variety of purposes. They use them to welcome people, to bid farewell to their dead, to celebrate success and to express collective pride.

The one haka recognised globally is the All Black haka: Ka Mate. This particular haka dates back over 200 years. A warrior chief named Te Raupahara composed it, having just escaped capture by a tribal rival. It was reflective of his relief and excitement at survival.

The words, “ka mate, ka mate, ka ora, ka ora” literally means “I die, I die, I live, I live.” Te Raupahara became something of a heroic figure as a leader and a warrior and his haka was kept alive after his death.”

You can read the whole article on the BBC News link above.