Five things (you might not know) about kapa haka

News News & events

13 Apr 2018

More than one haka

While the All Blacks have done the nation an immeasurable service by promoting their now iconic haka to the world, there is a misconception that all haka performers must poke out their tongues and slap their chests just like the All Blacks do. This is a legitimate warrior-style haka, however there are many styles of haka, because haka simply means dance and chant and kapa means group.

Kapa haka explores contemporary issues

Creating new kapa haka material reflects the issues faced by a community – anything from earthquakes to how Te Reo is being utilised.

It’s an emotional journey

Although focus on physical fitness in competition kapa haka has increased, the ability to take the audience on an emotional journey is also absolutely central to good kapa haka.

Not only for Māori

Although it comes from Māori culture, kapa haka is open to everyone to learn. While New Zealand children will learn kapa haka at primary school regardless of ethnicity, adult Pakeha are shy about exploring kapa haka - and will have to look harder for opportunities to participate.

A community effort

The kapa (group) is composed of more than the 40 performers on stage – all of the supporters are part of the group and their input, whether minding the children, preparing food, creating costumes or any of many other essential tasks, is essential to the success of the performance.