Nga Haka – the haka content

Each haka performed represents a distinct haka form and message providing a range and authenticity beyond the well known ‘ka mate’ haka used by the All Blacks. Each performer has been chosen because of who they are as leaders who perform haka as part of their everyday lives.

Each haka peephole will be coin operated to require a koha contribution (payment transaction). The haka will be activated by any NZ coin allowing a koha to be given according to what each person can afford or wants to bring to the work. The kaitiaki (guardians/composer/owners) of each haka will get royalties from this payment as recognition of their intellectual/cultural rights. Each haka will be shown through its own peephole. The following haka have been recorded:

1. A Kai Tahu haka performed by two young Kai Tahu men.

Waiariki and Taikawa

Video stills from Haka Peepshow – Waiariki Parata Taiapa and Taikawa Tamati-Elliffe.

Tēnei te Ruru has ancient origins. It was a whakaaraara pā, the sentry’s cry to alert the residents of the pā to approaching danger. The whakaaraara pā comes from Ōtakou and was turned into a haka by Piri Sciascia.

Metaphorically, the haka speaks of the ruru or morepork, which is ever vigilant. Like the pā sentry, the ruru will not be swayed from its task and remains resolute. It calls Kāi Tahu to rise up together.

The Kāi Tahu kapa haka group who travelled to Venice in 2001 to support New Zealand’s representing artists at the Venice Biennale performed Tēnei te Ruru. The haka has become widely known and is regularly performed by Kāi Tahu.

In May this year Tēnei te Ruru was adapted and performed throughout the country in a super haka to show support for Christchurch people in the aftermath of the earthquake. Its first line was changed from Tahu Potiki maraka maraka (Tahu Potiki is the Kāi Tahu founding ancestor) to Ōtautahi maraka maraka. Otautahi is the Kāi Tahu name for Christchurch. Maraka mean to rise up and the haka was a rallying call for Christchurch and its people to rise up and remain resolute as they rebuild the city.

Tēnei te Ruru is preceded with another local haka recently composed by Tahu Potiki, the chair of Otakou Runaka and former CEO of Ngāi Tahu Development.

The two young performers are Waiariki Parata Taiapa and Taikawa Tamati-Elliffe. Both grew up in Dunedin and whakapapa to local hapū of Ōtakou and Puketeraki. They represent youthful leadership and the future of Kāi Tahu. They perform their haka amid a flurry of snow as a reference to tough southern men.

Waiariki is currently in his third year of study at the University of Otago. He has been selected to represent Ngāi Tahu in the Rugby World Cup opening haka. He is currently being mentored by Mayor David Cull under a nationwide mayoral leadership program as the Dunedin participant.

Taikawa, 17, is in year 12 at Kings High School in Dunedin. He is the kaitataki, male leader, of the kapa haka group, He Waka Kotuia. He is eldest of four brothers growing up in a bilingual home. View the words to Tēnei te Ruru »

2. Ruaumoko

Selwyn Parata

Selwyn Parata.

Rūaumoko is a Ngāti Porou Haka Taparahi generally attributed to Mohi Turei (1833- 1914 ) of the Ngāti Hokopu, Te Aitanga-a-Mate hapū of Ngāti Porou. Hanara Rire (1902- 1971), renowned orator and historian and Selwyn Parata’s grandfather, in his recital on Rūaumoko in (1967), recalled Ngaropi Waiti one of his kuia (older kins-women) and respected ‘fonts of knowledge’, telling the story of the brothers Ngā Kuri Paaka (Kuku, Korohau and Rongotangatake, the three sons of Uetuhiao and Tutehurutea) performing this haka at Haunui Pā, in the Makarika valley 400 years ago. This haka is a classic and the metaphor reflects the uniqueness of Ngāti Porou wananga, drawing on the iconology and imagery of the natural word, Rūaumoko the God of Earthquakes, Hikurangi maunga (Hikurangi Mountain) and its twin peaks celebrating the complementarity of the roles of men and women , while describing in real terms the act of procreation. The haka is a unique expression of matauranga a iwi, a subtle mix in the choice and use of reo (language), contrasting with the graphic physical movement underscored by a pulsating beat , which can also be interpreted as the unsettled Rūaumoko moving in protest within the confines of his mother’s womb.

At the time that the sky father Ranginui was separated from the earth mother Papatuanuku, they had an unborn child, Rūaumoko, who was still inside his mother’s womb. Today he remains there, sometimes moving and turning inside Papatuanuku. When he moves, the earth shakes and so he has become known as the god of earthquakes. This haka is a statement affirming our descent from the ‘Gods’, Rūaumoko ‘s reaction to the separation of his parents, our relationship with the whenua (land) and the survival of people, which in this context are the descendants of Porourangi and Hamoterangi.

Of Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu – Ngati Huirapa ki Puketeraki descent, Selwyn is a respected exponent of haka, accomplished Ngāti Porou historian, specialising in whakapapa (genealogy) and a practitioner of Ngāti Porou tikanga (values, traditions and practices). Selwyn is the deputy chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou and Ngati Porou Hauora , chairman of Te Reo Irirangi o Ngati Porou (Radio Ngāti Porou), Hiruharama and Whareponga marae and a director of Ngāti Porou farm and forestry companies. On the national scene, Selwyn is the chairman of the Iwi leaders Group- Matauranga (Education), a trustee of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa and Chairman of Te Matatini.

Te Matatini is the national committee responsible for fostering, developing and protecting traditional Māori performing arts and the pursuit of excellence in this genre. He currently works as a pouwhakahaere for Te Puni Kōkiri, providing cultural guidance and leadership to Ministers of the Crown. Over recent years, he has been one of the negotiators for the Ngāti Porou Treaty of Waitangi claim, and the Hikurangi hapū cluster representative on Te Haeata. He looks forward to the opportunity for Ngāti Porou to grow the assets that have been negotiated for the benefit of ngā uri o ngā hapū o Ngāti Porou (the descendants of the sub-tribes of Ngati Porou) and to make the most of all opportunities presenting as a ”settled iwi”, including enhancing the Treaty relationship with the Crown through the affirmation and application of an ‘enlightened and aspirational partnership approach’ in the development of policy and in the negotiation of cultural, economic, environmental and social outcomes for Ngāti Porou.

Selwyn Parata fittingly performs Rūaumoko in the rain representing the tears of Ranginui during the separation and the tears for Christchurch. View the words to Rūaumoko »

3. Tame Iti performing a haka

Tame Iti

Tame Iti.

Haka is often used to protest and call attention to political issues. Tame Iti is often seen in the media as the face of Tūhoe activism and protest. He has been involved in novel acts of defiance since he was a child told not to speak Māori at school. Apart from this dominant media persona, there are other sides to Tame that range from artist and musician to social worker, family man to entrepreneur.
Creating the Tūhoe Embassy at Tane Atua and drawing attention to the land confiscations of his people in the pursuit of Mana Motuhake has been an ongoing issue for Tame. While he has created and exhibited art and recently performed in Lemi Ponifasio’s ‘Tempest’, a contemporary Shakespeare performance that travelled extensively overseas, he is also a social worker dealing with substance abuse and domestic violence issues within his home valley.
Tame was invited to use this platform for whatever issue he would like to address. He has chosen to present himself as he does when speaking on the paepae, or marae. Dressed in his good clothes and performing a haka that is about his whakapapa or relationship to his home, the Ruatahuna valley and sacred mountain, Maungapohatu. Ngāi Tūhoe, Tame’s tribal group, are known as children of the mist and so he performs shrouded in mist.

4. National Kapa Haka Male Leader of the Year, 2011 – Wetini Mitai Ngatai

Wetini Mitai

Video stills from Haka Peepshow – Wetini Mitai Ngatai.

Wetini Mitai-Ngatai won the 2011 Male Leader of the Year award at the recent Te Matatini festival. Matatini, the national kapa haka competition, mixes traditional with contemporary over three days and culminates in a prize giving acknowledging individual categories and a supreme winner.

Male leaders are judged on their performance on and off stage, their presentation, speech and oratory skills and the way they carry themselves and their group. Wetini’s group, Te Matarae i o Rehu, which was co-led by Miriama Hare, won the 2011 Supreme Award in the traditional Māori weaponry master and kapa haka (performing arts) sections.

Wetini is esteemed in Māori oral tradition after spending most of his life being taught by his elders. He has travelled the world sharing his knowledge and was co-producer of Ihi Frenzy, the collaboration between the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Te Matarae o Rehu. Wetini founded Rotorua’s Mitai Māori Village and is passionate about delivering a genuine, quality cultural experience to visitors from around the globe.

Wetini is currently choreographing the opening ceremony for the 2011 Rugby World Cup at Eden Park.

He was invited to perform a peruperu (haka using a weapon) shrouded in steam as a reference to the geothermal region he belongs to, and the gym steam room. The haka he performs is his own composition.