Visitors to the Rotorua Night Market were treated to an impassioned flash mob haka earlier this week.
Students from Rotorua Boys’ High School’s winning Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Competition team Raukura appeared from all angles to lead the powerful performance of famous Ngāti Toa Rangatira haka, Ka Mate on Thursday night.
The flash mob haka aimed to promote a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest haka, which is taking place at the Rotorua Village Green in June.
The world record attempt has been organised by the International Rugby Club as part of its Rugby Safari following the DHL NZ Lions Tour 2017.
IRC co-founder Tony Molloy says more than 6200 people will be needed to perform Ka Mate at Rotorua’s Village Green on June 17, and all comers will be encouraged to participate, regardless of the allegiance.
“There is no better place than Rotorua to reclaim the record for the world’s largest haka. Staging it before the Rotorua game where the Māori All Blacks will face off against The British and Irish Lions just couldn’t be a better setting.
“It’s about welcoming fans, visitors and The British and Irish Lions to Rotorua.”
The official record currently stands at 4028 participants, which was achieved at an event organised by car manufacturer Mazda in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, during 2014.
The number to beat however is 6200, which was the number of participants who performed a haka in Masterton last November, although their attempt is yet to be officially ratified.
“That means that the equivalent of 10 per cent of Rotorua’s population will need to be at the Village Green on June 17.”
In the lead up to the attempt on June 17, the IRC is also encouraging local sports teams, organisations and schools to post their haka practise videos on their Giant Haka Facebook page.
The Guinness World Record attempt for the largest haka takes place at Rotorua’s Village Green on Saturday, June 17, starting at 12pm. For more information or to watch an instructional video to practise your haka skills, visit the Giant Haka Facebook page.
ABOUT KA MATE:
In Te Reo Māori, ‘haka’ is the generic term for a war dance. Traditionally used on the battlefield, haka are a display of a tribe’s mana (pride) and strength.
Ka Mate, the haka that will be performed for the record attempt, is internationally recognised as the iconic challenge performed by the All Blacks before games.
It was composed in the 17th century by Ngāti Toa Rangatira chief Te Rauparaha, descendent of Hoturoa, captain of the Tainui canoe.
A well-known story within the oral histories of Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Ngāti Tuwharetoa, the two iwi most associated with the haka’s origins, Ka Mate helped Te Rauparaha escape the advances of a war party from Ngāti Te Aho.
The words “Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora” translate to ‘Will I die!, Will I live!”, the famous words spelling out the challenge Te Rauparaha faced.
To learn more about Ka Mate and its origins, visit: www.ngatitoa.iwi.nz/ka-mate/