The Meaning of the Haka

The Meaning of the Haka

Written by Kimberly

New Zealand is a country that proudly carries on the traditions of its ancestors. The Haka is a traditional dance that is performed by men on both the battlefield in the midst of wartime and during a celebration of peacetime. If you watch rugby, you’ve probably seen the All Blacks perform it before. Nowadays, the Haka is a dance that is performed to honour special events such as the wedding of a young couple or a significant birthday milestone. Hire a campervan in New Zealand uncover the meaning of the Haka.


At first, the Haka dance was an intimidation tactic. Soldiers would beat their chests, stomp their feet, wave their weapons in the air. This was to scare their enemies. They also believed that by doing this dance, they would invoke the spirits of the gods to assist them in war. The energy that was exuded was meant to assert strength against their enemies and bravery amongst the performers.

A sense of community

Over time, the Haka took on different incarnations. Instead of being a battle cry, the Haka was performed to build a sense of community and a sense of strength. Additionally, there were Haka dances created for women to perform as well. The dance was created so that women could also partake in the communal dance. Furthermore, the Haka dance is performed during a variety of special occasions. The All Blacks rugby team makes it a tradition to perform the dance before an international match. This is done to honour their heritage and hype up themselves and their fans in the crowd.

Where can I see a Haka?

If you want to watch a Haka ceremony outside of a rugby match, you can hire a campervan and tour New Zealand. Visit specific towns where the Haka is alive and well. The Mitai Maori Village is about 10 minutes from the Rotura Central city centre. This village is an authentic introduction to Maori culture. People wear traditional Maori attire and they can canoe you through sacred freshwater springs. You’ll also be able to partake in traditional hangi meals and view displays of weaponry, the Haka and tattoo artistry.

This is just a quick guide to the meaning of the Haka. If you’re looking to do more of a road trip to see the entirety of the country, hire a campervan and drive up to Waitangi. Here, you can experience Culture North, which is one of New Zealand’s most important historical sites. The Culture North Night Show is a performance that showcases light and dance as well as a historical reenactment of 1000 years of Maori culture leading up to the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document that helped build the New Zealand that is present today.