2. WAITANGI DAY
Te Manawa is the place to be on Saturday for music, performances, talks based around our national day.
The haka has become synonymous with All Black rugby. The links go right back to the birth of our national game, but how did this come about?
The NZ Rugby Museum’s Stephen Berg says the tradition of the pre-match haka had its genesis with the first New Zealand teams.
‘‘At the start of a game, they used to say ‘‘Kia kaha’’ – be strong. Then they added ‘‘Ake, ake, ake’’ – for ever and ever and ever. When 15 voices were shouting kia kaha before every game, it soon got noticed.’’
On Waitangi Day, as part of the festivities at Te Manawa, Stephen has prepared information for the museum about how the pre-match haka developed into what it is today.
‘‘The 1905 Originals started using Te Rauparaha’s Ka Mate haka half-way through the tour. They didn’t perform it, they would cluster together and chant it out.’’
The 1924 Invincibles wrote their own haka on the voyage over. Its words ‘‘Kia whaka ngawari o ia hau’’ meant ‘‘Let us prepare ourselves for the fray’’.
‘‘It was used on the tour and has never been performed again.’’
Neither were haka consistently performed. The traditional challenge was laid down in South Africa on the 1928 tour, but not on the British tour of 1935.
‘‘And remember when the players used to leap up high at the end. That’s not right. Performers are supposed to remain grounded.
‘‘Those early attempts at performing the haka weren’t practised and looked awkward.’’
It wasn’t until 1987, Stephen says, that All Black captain Buck Shelford, with team-mate Hika Reid, demanded changes.
‘‘Things either had to change or the team would drop the haka. It was then that it became more in-your-face and intimidating, and the haka started to be done properly and with pride.’’
Then came 1999 and the advent of the professional era. Under captain Taine Randell, the haka became more integrated as part of the wider spectacle.
In 2005, when Tana Umaga captained the side, the All Blacks got their own haka, Kapa o Pango.
Composed by Derek Lardelli to reflect the country’s growing multi-cultural make-up and Polynesian influence in the game, Kapa o Pango is only performed on special occasions.
Stephen’s information includes the formation adopted at last year’s Rugby World Cup.
All Blacks perform the haka before playing NSW at Athletic Park, Wellington on September 15, 1923. NZ won 38-11.