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Ka mate, ka mate


Ka mate, ka mate


It’s the most famous haka of them all.

It has become familiar the world over thanks to New Zealand’s rugby team the All Blacks who perform it before international matches and who kickstarted this world cup in the same way.

But few people know that this traditional song and dance is from Maori Mythology and in fact is a celebration of life over death.

Chappy Harrison explains.

“That particular haka derives from a person that was on a run, from a rival who was chasing him and that’s why he chanted to himself : “Ka mate, ka mate, will I live, will I die… ka mate, ka mate, ka ora, will I live will I die, Tenei te tangata puhuru huru… you know they were chasing him and he is really scared, he’s wondering : will I get caught ? That’s where it kind of comes from, you know what I mean”.

Ahead of the opening ceremony for this year’s rugby world cup Maori warriors, who performed on the opening night, came from all over New Zealand to fine tune their ceremonial haka in the suburbs of Auckland.

There are as many hakas as there are Maori tribes in New Zealand, but they all have one thing in common: the poking out of the tongue.

“It’s kind of… like, to provoke people, making people kind of getting cheeky if you want to say that but it’s also to look fierce as well”.

Euronews correspondent Cécile Skovron Mathy: “It’s with the strength of Maori tradition that the All Blacks start this world cup. The Haka is the symbol of their strength, but will it be enough to help the hosts battle their way to a second World Cup crown”.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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