KA MATE! KA MATE! KA ORA! KA ORA! KA MATE! KA MATE! KA ORA! KA ORA! TENEI TE TANGATA PUHURUHURU NANA I TIKI MAI WHAKAWHITI TE RA HAUPANE! HAUPANE! HAUPANE! HAUPANE! WHITI TE RA!
The translation: Ka mate Ka mate It is death It is death Ka ora Ka ora It is life It is life Ka mate Ka mate It is death It is death Ka ora Ka ora It is life It is life Tenei Te Tangata Puhuruhuru This is the hairy man Nana i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra Who caused the sun to shine again for me Upane Upane Up the ladder Up the ladder Upane Kaupane Up to the top Whiti te ra The sun shines!
The Maori pronunciation is basically one vowel per syllable, with the vowels having the European rather than English sound. The `wh' is aspirated almost like an `f' (f is good enough for most people). As for what it all means, about 140 years ago, a particularly notorious warlike chief named Te Rauparaha of the Ngati Toa tribe (based just North of present day Wellington), was being chased by his enemies. He hid in a kumara pit (the local sweet potato, only much better) and waited in the dark for his pursuers to find him. He heard sounds above and thought he was done for when the top of the pit was opened up and sunshine flooded in. He was blinded and struggled to see those about to slay him, when his sight cleared and he instead saw the hairy legs of the local chief (reputed to have been exceptionally hirsute) who had hid him. Te Rauparaha is said to have jumped from the pit and performed this haka on the spot, so happy was he to have escaped. Undoubtedly, he also had in his mind to do a little pursuing of his own --- Te Rauparaha being that way inclined was he.
Here is a link that shows the "Haka" in action (thanks to Nš Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara of www.culture.co.nz who sent me the link).
Here is a link to Useful links to Maori culture web sites
If you're interested in seeing the Haka performed by the Maoris, there are 2 videos that can be purchased (No, I do not get a cut of the purchase and no I do not sell them, I know nothing else about these videos, so if you email me about buying a video, you won't get a reply from me!!!). If you're interested, contact: New Zealand Video Tours LTD/P.O. Box 34-422/Auckland 10/New Zealand ask for (Either or both): 1) The Maori 2)Te Amokura at Te aronui-A-Rua Make sure you tell them what format (US or PAL)
Last Update: November 21, 2004, while daydreaming about New Zealand (But then I do that everyday!!)