Māori tribe that invented the haka demand anti-vaxxers stop using it

Māori tribe that invented the haka demand anti-vaxxers stop using it – as a controversial church leader begins to teach others the war dance to be performed at future Covid rallies

  • Ka Mate haka best known as traditional dance used by New Zealand’s All Blacks
  • Ngāti Toa tribe said it refused to endorse using the dance at anti-vaccine rallies
  • Performance has become a protest symbol at country’s protests in recent weeks

The Maori tribe that invented New Zealad’s most iconic haka has pleaded with anti-vaccine protesters to stop using the traditional war dance during their rallies. 

The Ka Mate haka is best known as the dance used by New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team, who have special permission to perform it before their matches. 

The haka is seen as a cultural treasure and is intended to be used for special occassions. 

In recent weeks though the famous performance has become a symbol of protest as thousands of Kiwis rally against vaccination orders and Covid restrictions.   

New Zealand’s Ngāti Toa tribe on Monday called on demonstrators to ‘use a different haka’ after it emerged controversial church leader Brian Tamaki planned to teach the dance to protesters at future rallies.

Anti-vaccine and lockdown activists perform a haka during a protest in Christchurch on November 13. New Zealand’s Ngāti Toa tribe has pleaded with anti-vaccine protesters to stop using the traditional war dance during their rallies

A group of anti-vaxxers are seen performing a traditional haka during the Freedom and Rights Coalition protest in Wellington on November 9

The Ka Mate haka was composed by the tribe’s war leader Te Rauparaha in 1820.

‘We do not support their position and we do not want our tupuna [ancestors] or our iwi [tribe] associated with their messages,’ the tribe said in a statement.

‘We insist that protesters stop using our taonga [cultural treasure] immediately.

‘Our message to protesters who wish to use Ka Mate is to use a different haka.’  

The tribe said it had been active in promoting the Covid-19 vaccine to its community members and condemned the use of the haka to promote anti-vaccine slogans. 

Ngāti Toa own the legal rights to use the dance, which is known for tongue protrusions, loud chanting and rhythmic body slapping.

Today, the haka is still used with Ngāti Toa’s blessing during Māori ceremonies and celebrations to honour guests and show the importance of the occasion.

Dozens of ‘freedom’ protesters though have been seen using the dance while rallying against the country’s ongoing Covid restrictions in recent weeks.

The tribe spoke out after it emerged lockdown activist and church leader Brian Tamaki (right) planned to teach the dance to protesters at future demonstrations

TJ Perenara of the All Blacks leads the haka before a match against South Africa in September. The New Zealand national rugby team have special permission to perform the dance before their matches

Thousands of unmasked protesters rallied against vaccine mandates in New Zealand’s capital Wellington last Tuesday.

Police blocked off all but two entrances to the country’s parliament building – known colloquially as the Beehive – as protesters marched through Wellington’s CBD. 

Demonstrators held messages such as ‘Kiwis are not lab rats’ and ‘coercion is not consent’ as they called for an end to compulsory vaccination orders and continuing social distancing restrictions.

Placards showing support to former US President Donald Trump and slamming the media as ‘fake’ and lying were also displayed.

Why the haka is performed:

The haka is a type of ancient Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace.

Haka are a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity.

Actions include violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping to accompany a loud chant.

The words of a haka often poetically describe ancestors and events in the tribe’s history.

Today, haka are still used during Māori ceremonies and celebrations to honour guests and show the importance of the occasion. This includes family events, like birthdays and weddings.

SOURCE: NewZealand.com

‘I will not be coerced and I will not be forced into taking something I don’t want in my body,’ one protester said outside parliament.

‘I’m asking (the government) to give us back 2018. Simple as that. I want my freedoms back.’

New Zealand has struggled to fight off a highly infectious outbreak of the Delta variant this year, forcing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to move from a strategy of elimination through lockdowns to living with the virus with higher vaccinations.

Protesters are pictured during the Freedom and Rights Coalition protest in Wellington on November 9

This protestor felt forced vaccines were a form of modern day fascism in New Zealand

Ardern last month said the country would require teachers and workers in the health and disability sectors to be fully vaccinated against Covid, inviting criticism from people calling for more freedoms and for ending mandatory vaccine requirements. 

‘Treat us like people!’ another protester exclaimed when asked about the government’s stance on mandating the vaccine.

‘I’m here for freedom. The government, what they’re doing, is anti-freedom.’

Speaking to reporters inside parliament, Ardern said: ‘What we saw today was not representative of the vast bulk of New Zealanders.’

 

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