Don’t get me wrong, rugby is a great contact sport. But if I’m honest, it’s not the actual gameplay that I’m most excited to see. That excitement all goes to the Haka.
The Haka is a traditional war cry originating from the Māori people of New Zealand. This ancient war cry, which is always accompanied with strong movements and foot stomping, was originally performed by Māori warriors before battle. The Haka served to pump up the warriors and to intimidate others by showing their strength.
Thanks to New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All Blacks, we can still witness this mesmerizing tradition today. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we also have to see violent battles. A new tradition began thanks to the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team. Instead of performing the Haka before battle, they performed it before rugby matches. Similar to its original purpose, the Haka still pumps up the players and intimidates the opposition.
These days, I’ll find myself spending hours upon hours on YouTube watching their games just so I can watch them perform this Maori tradition. Something about it gets my adrenaline up and I can’t look away. And lets be honest here, it’s also really attractive to watch.
According to The All Black’s website, “Haka” is actually a generic name for all of Maori dance. “More than any aspect of Maori culture, this complex dance is an expression of the passion, vigour and identity of the race,” the site explains. “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.”
[Bonus] The All Blacks perform (in suits!) for the Maori King:
For more about New Zealand’s All Blacks and more about the haka, you can check out their website