Why I Cry Nearly Every Time I See The Haka Performed

I come from a Ukrainian and Scottish background, both known for a love of potatoes & booze, but unfortunately not so much for their awesome war rituals. I’m really not sure what it is exactly that gets me so emotional when I see the haka performed; it could be the raw power and strength mixed right n with the vulnerability and emotion. Whatever it is, I tear up like a baby when ever I see it.

So when I saw this haka performed at Benjamin and Aaliyah Armstrong’s wedding, I was a complete blithering mess. It went viral and has had over 20,000,000 views, and for good reason. It’s bloody beautiful.

The All Blacks describe it better than I ever could, so I’ll hand it over to them for a moment: “According to Maori ethos, Tama-nui-to-ra, the Sun God, had two wives, Hine-raumati, the Summer maid, and Hine takurua, the Winter maid. The child born to him and Hine-raumati was Tane-rore, who is credited with the origin of the dance. Tane-rore is the trembling of the air as seen on the hot days of summer, and represented by the quivering of the hands in the dance.

Haka is the generic name for all Maori dance. Today, haka is defined as that part of the Maori dance repertoire where the men are to the fore with the women lending vocal support in the rear. Most haka seen today are haka taparahi, haka without weapons.

More than any aspect of Maori culture, this complex dance is an expression of the passion, vigour and identity of the race. Haka is not merely a past time of the Maori but was also a custom of high social importance in the welcoming and entertainment of visitors. Tribal reputation rose and fell on their ability to perform the haka (Hamana Mahuika). Haka reflected the concerns and issues of the time, of defiance and protest, of factual occurrences and events at any given time.”