Music and dance are integral parts of any culture. This week we are taking a look at the Haka, traditional Maori dance. It’s one of the more powerful and fascinating dances I’ve seen and am very pleased to share it with you. Here’s a little history:
“The haka is a composition played by many 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..”*
Modern Maori are cary on their ancestors’ traditions in modern ways. From electronica to rugby to high school competition, the Haka is still a thriving part of New Zealand life.
Dances of Life (Maori excerpt) – A short visual history of the Haka.
Tiki Taane with TANGAROA – god of the sea
In this clip the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, performs the Karakia Timatanga, which is an opening prayer used to open meetings or start the day.This is a powerful performance and an example of how the Maori have kept their traditions alive. (See the translation of the timatanga below.)
Maori Stage Fest – Polyfest 2011 – Polyfest is a place where students perform their traditional dances and songs in competition. This is an entertaining show that highlights how young people are embracing their ancient history.
Karakia Timatanga lyrics and translation. Source: folksong.org
Taiki e!!I TE TĪMATANGA
KO TE KORE
Ko Te Pō-nui
Ko Te Pō-roa
Ia, ha ha!Wehenga mātua
Piki ake, piki ake
|Start quivering your hands!
Intermesh with each other!In the beginning
there was nothingness,
then great dark forms
in the long night.
The separation of our parents
Keep on climbing
* For more history and to see the full story from which I pulled this excerpt, visit haka.co.nz.