The Travel Project: The Legend of the Haka

The Travel Project: The Legend of the Haka


To understand haka, you must first
understand the ways of the Māori. My name is Martin Foru I grew up in the Netherlands; my
mum is Dutch and my father is from the Madi tribe in Uganda. I arrived here knowing very little about the Māori culture and the importance of the haka I only know it from watching the All Blacks but I want to understand what it means
and where it comes from. I believe it’s important for Martin and people in general to connect with the people of the places that you’re travelling to. If you were to ask me what is the most important thing in life and I should answer… is us. Is us as people. To learn about the Māori culture is to
understand a whole lot more than what may be seen from the outside. Through past time knowledge and past time understanding we get to connect and everything the Māoridom is all about connection. If we connect more to the
land, more to the sky, more to the elements we are able to dive into a deeper power
and a deepened understanding of who we are as a people. Our language, our culture was handed down from generation to generation and now I’m doing the same thing. Our whenua our connection to the
land, is our foundation it’s what we call our tūrangawaewae ‘our belonging place’ We don’t own this place we just belong to it and it’s up to us to upkeep and be what we call a kaitiaki or ‘guardian’ of this place. So you’ve got four elements that Maori focus on the physical, the mental, the spiritual and the emotional if you’re able to master those four elements, you can find a deeper
understanding of what your purpose and your potential is all about. And then haka and haka formation, you build an energy force called ihi and ihi is a type of
adrenaline or a type of an emotion that you portray when you’re performing. It’s
oneness, it’s connectivity It’s what we call ‘wairua’. Haka is a force of acknowledgement it is a force of direct honesty and even
nowadays haka can be an expression of love We’re feeling Papatūānuku, ‘Earth Mother’ in our stamping we’re keeping the beat that’s her heartbeat There’s a whole lot of connections that
are coming through emotional, physical and spiritual. When you’re performing the
haka you leave no stone unturned and you know that the person next to you on the left and the right, they’re going to get your back just as much as you’re going to get theirs [Haka chanting] Haka will live forever, I think. It’s
been around forever, I mean it’s just part of us, it’s where we come from, it’s our base. Tracing the roots of haka has allowed me to meet a lot of different
people from within the Māori world. I met these people as a stranger but
they treated me like family I’m so thankful to the people I’ve met for
their manaakitanga. I’ll take this home with me and I will always remember that
when I think of New Zealand. Our culture is built on the foundations
of our ancestors. We will never lose our understanding of where we come from or our sense of identity Haka will always be a part of this. It is a powerful expression of determination Of strength.
It is an expression of who we are. We are the tangata whenua of Aotearoa We are Māori. I liken to knowing that I have an understanding of who I am and where I come from and I will never be lost. I’m a seed born of greatness and I will never be lost. This is my land of Aotearoa.

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