Show me the Haka... SHOW ME THE HAKA!

Kapa O Pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!
All Blacks, let me become one with the land

There are two things in life that manage to make me wet my pants in anticipation and excitement; the possibility of Luke Covell leaving us alone and going to Rugby Union, and the Haka. There is no doubt about it, the Haka is a spectacle of international sport that the crowd seem to love every time it is performed. It is a traditional Maori Dance that tries to motivate and ?fire up? the performers, and send the other team back-pedalling into submission. However, the Haka seems to be more of a chore to the players these days, mainly due to the fact that the players don?t even seem interested in performing it. Why is it the All Blacks perform it so intensely and proactively, yet the Kiwi Rugby League side act as if they all have heart conditions and arthritis? Are we beginning to see the end of the Haka in International Rugby League?

Hi aue ii! Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei! Au, au, aue ha!
This is our land that rumbles. It's my time! It's my moment!

There are several different styles of the Haka, but two that are most prominent in sport. The traditional Kamate (currently performed by the New Zealand Rugby League side), and the newer Kapa O Pango (now performed by the All Blacks). The Ka Mate, attributed to Te Rauparaha, is a celebration over life and death shown through staccato shouting and the harmonious movement of the body. The newer Kapa O Pango, a truly intimidating and challenging spectacle, challenges the opposition, with a variety of movement and terrifying sounds, to actually try and take on a side who is so determined and motivated to be the best. The biggest misconception still around today is that the Haka is just a war dance, designed at intimidating the opposition. In reality, it is a challenge; daring the opposition to stand their ground and take on a group of individuals who are ready for the fight of their life. The Haka is more than just a dance; it is the coming together of the entire body to express bravery, courage, and a will to perform and be the best there ever was.

Ko Kapa O Pango e ngunguru nei! Au, au, aue ha! I ahaha!
This defines us as the All Blacks; It's my time! It's my moment!

The Kiwi Rugby League side are, unfortunately enough, embarrassing at best in performing the Haka. Regardless of the fact that half of the team are not Maori (and some only have great grandmothers who are Maori?), the intensity just is not there. The team seem more interested in making sure they did not miss any stray hairs while shaving their legs than showing their courage and bravery, in a bid to send the opposition running into submission. If this pattern keeps up, it could be very soon that the Haka will lose its effect and true meaning, damaging a truly magnificent cultural aspect of international sport. If the Kiwi Rugby League side want to motivate and truly ?fire up? their players into believing they are supreme just before the match begins, then this is simply the answer.

Ka tu te ihiihi, Ka tu te wanawana, Ki runga ki te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei ihi!
Our dominance, our supremacy, We will be properly revered and placed up high!

The Kapa O Pango would be a terrifying ordeal for any opposition who actually has to stand within the vicinity and witness the dance as it is performed. The terrified look on the opposition?s faces and the stench that seemed to be coming from their shorts as Tana Umaga led his side through the Kapa O Pango shows that the Haka is more than ?just a dance?, it is a way for the Kiwis to mentally prepare themselves and show the opposition that they are ready to play.

Ponga ra!
Silver Fern!

For the sake of the international game, kiwi supporters and the team itself, the side needs to show some intensity when performing one of the world?s greatest cultural dances. Not just to create a spectacle for the audience, but to set the pace and the atmosphere of the game, and hence add an intensity to the game that nothing else could possibly match.

Kapa O Pango, aue hi!
All Blacks!