The Haka Powhiri – The Connection

Sarah our assistant, from New Zealand and America, became strangely and repeatedly moved when logging the footage from the project for the film.
Then it hit her – the haka, the powhiri, pulling people safely to shore in their canoes, welcoming visitors and remembering those that have gone before.

I am more familiar with the Haka that the All Blacks, rugby players do, before a game or that is performed for the Queen when she visits.

See below a detailed description of what happens and what it means, followed by the words to a Ka Mate Haka and a surprisingly powerful Haka at a funeral by the New Zealand Defence Force.

The haka pöwhiri can begin the welcoming of manuhiri (visitors) onto a marae or special place. It is performed just after the karanga (calls). It can also be used to discuss local marae protocol and kawa that the students may be familiar with.

At the start of a pöwhiri, a woman from the host side performs the karanga to indicate to the manuhiri that they should move forward onto the marae. A woman from the manuhiri then returns the karanga as the manuhiri make their way forward. These two karanga weave a spiritual rope, which will now be used to pull the waka of the manuhiri, with its paddlers and passengers, onto the marae.
After the women performing the karanga have woven the rope, the haka pöwhiri pulls the canoe of the manuhiri forward. “Töia Mai” offers a powerful description of the waka being pulled up and, for this reason, it is a favourite at pöwhiri.
The meaning of the haka pöwhiri includes the pulling up of everything the manuhiri bring with them – their histories, languages, ancestors, and everything else that makes them who they are.
As with all haka, the whole body is used in this chant, and it is performed energetically. Consult with the school community, whänau, and local marae/iwi for support for this haka pöwhiri. This haka pöwhiri can be used by the whole school in a real context to welcome parents and whänau, visiting dignitaries, or other visitors.

These are the words of the Ka Mate haka which generally opens with a set of 5 preparatory instructions shouted out by the leader before the whole team joins in:

Leader: Ringa pakia! Slap the hands against the thighs!
Uma tiraha! Puff out the chest.
Turi whatia! Bend the knees!
Hope whai ake! Let the hip follow!
Waewae takahia kia kino! Stomp the feet as hard as you can!
Leader: Ka mate, ka mate I die, I die,
Team: Ka ora’ Ka ora’ I live, I live
Leader: Ka mate, ka mate I die, I die,
Team: Ka ora Ka ora ” I live, I live,
All: Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru This is the hairy man
Nāna i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā …Who caused the sun to shine again for me
A Upane! Ka Upane! Up the ladder, Up the ladder
Upane Kaupane” Up to the top
Whiti te rā,! The sun shines!
Hī! Rise!

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