School­child­ren pull off world’s largest haka

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

AROUND 7000 New Zealand school­child­ren stomped and bel­lowed their way through what is be­lieved to be the largest-ever haka yes­ter­day, claim­ing a new world record for the Maori war dance. The chil­dren per­formed the haka chal­lenge at a park in Master­ton, just out­side Welling­ton, watched closely by local stew­ards mon­i­tor­ing the event for the Guin­ness World Records.

The cur­rent record was set in 2014, when 4028 peo­ple per­formed the haka at the grounds of French rugby club CA Brive Cor­reze Li­mousin.

While yes­ter­day’s fig­ure of around 7000 is yet to be of­fi­cially con­firmed, local jus­tice of the peace Peter Deb­ney was in no doubt the stu­dents had achieved their goal.

“Cer­tainly from my ob­ser­va­tion, that’s been achieved to­day,” he told AFP.

Master­ton In­ter­me­di­ate School prin­ci­pal Rus­sell Thomp­son, who spent al­most a year or­gan­is­ing the event, said it was a point of na­tional pride to re­turn the record to the home­land of the haka.

He said the chil­dren did not per­form the “Ka Mate” haka, which the world cham­pion All Blacks rugby team use as a pre-match chal­lenge.

In­stead they opted an­other ver­sion called “Ko Wairarapa”, writ­ten by a local Maori elder.

“It’s a sense of iden­tity I sup­pose. It tells peo­ple where we’re from,” he said.

The haka orig­i­nated as a bat­tle­field chal­lenge but is now per­formed at wed­dings and fu­ner­als, as well as sport­ing events.

Photo: AFP

Stu­dents per­form a mass haka in an at­tempt to break the Guin­ness World Record for the largest haka at Memo­rial Park in Master­ton on Novem­ber 2.

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