Kapa Haka

What Is Kapa Haka?

KAPA: to stand in a row or rank
HAKA: to dance (the dance of Tanerore; the quivering of the air on a hot day)

Kapa haka is commonly used to describe modern day performance of traditional and contemporary Maori song. The performance can be competitive or non competitive. The kapa can be performed by any number of people.

Modern performance is made up of disciplines.

Disciplines include:

Waiata-a-tira group dynamics singing, examples being chorals and hymns.

Whakaeke a choreographed entrance onto the performance area, where elements of all disciplines are utilised.

Moteatea usually traditional chants or dirges, however contemporary compositions are becoming more common.

Poi where the dancer (mostly female), utilising a ball attached to a length of cord exhibits the full ethos of grace, beauty, form, style and allure.

Waiata-a-ringa a song where the hand movements in particular, the face, the eyes, the body combine to bring form to the words.

Haka the war dance, that aspect of Maori culture embraced by all New Zealanders to become a world renowned expression of New Zealand identity

Whakawatea a choreographed exit off the performance area, where once again elements of all disciplines are utilised.

Manukura Wahine and Manukura Tane off stage and on stage, female and male leaders of kapa haka are being asked to take on more modern roles in society where their mana and skills are both recognised and accepted.

Kakahu dress. This discipline recognises the skills of Maori artists and craftsman including weavers, carvers, tuhi kiri, moko.

Te Reo, the Maori language underpins all the other disciplines.

Kapa Haka celebrates Maori contribution to New Zealand’s uniqueness in this modern world. Kapa haka removes the battlefields of Maori ancestors, with inherent combativeness now taking place on stage in a controlled environment. Kapa haka while recognising the many differences within Maoridom, between iwi, between hapu, between whanau, it still allows for Maori to come together and celebrate its oneness.