It is the Rugby World Cup and the team you are cheering for is lined up against the New Zealand All Blacks. The game is about to begin when the All Blacks line up in three rows, stare down the opposing team and perform the Haka.

It is led off by loud chanting and followed by menacing facial expressions, grunting, guttural howling, stomping, clapping, chest-thumping, and tongue-wagging. The sole intention of the war dance is to strike awe and fear into the team’s opponents.

The Haka is a traditional war dance of the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand called the Māori. The war dance is performed before battle, to welcome guests or dignitaries or in acknowledgement of great achievements or occasions. According to their mythology, the Haka originated when the presence of a god was revealed in the shimmering of air on a hot day.

There have been many iterations of the Haka performed by various groups. New Zealand’s rugby team first performed the Māori ritual in 1888 and have continued to celebrate their country’s diverse culture with its performance at the start of all international games.

The most recent Haka the All Blacks have performed is “Kapa o Pango” which has the following chant:

Te Reo Māori English
Taringa whakarongo!

Kia rite! Kia rite! Kia mau!

Hi!

Kia whakawhenua au i ahau!

Hi, aue! Hi!

Ko Aotearoa, e ngunguru nei!

Hi, au! Au! Aue, ha! Hi!

Ko kapa o pango, e ngunguru nei!

Hi, au! Au! Aue, ha! Hi!

I ahaha!

Ka tu te ihi-ihi

Ka tu te wanawana

Ki runga i te rangi, e tu iho nei, tu iho nei, hi!

Ponga ra!

Kapa o pango! Aue, hi!

Ponga ra!

Kapa o pango! Aue, hi!

Ha!

Let me go back to my first gasp of breath

Let my life force return to the earth

It is New Zealand that thunders now

And it is my time!

It is my moment!

The passion ignites!

This defines us as the All Blacks

And it is my time!

It is my moment!

The anticipation explodes!

Feel the power

Our dominance rises

Our supremacy emerges

To be placed on high

Silver fern!

All Blacks!

Silver fern!

All Blacks!

 

Watch the “Kapa o Pango” Haka from the 2011 Rugby World Cup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiKFYTFJ_kw

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