PROTEST: Schoolmates in Christchurch, NZ do the traditional dance to honor their fallen classmates from the mosque shootings

Watch the Christchurch HAKA here:

The Haka is a traditional Maori tribal dance, performed in New Zealand and around the area that shares these cultural traditions. It can be used to welcome someone home, to celebrate achievements, to mourn and grieve, to tell cultural stories, and of course, to inspire warriors and intimidate foes before a battle. So, there is no ONE Haka, and new ones continue to be composed for special situations. In particular, Rugby team in NZ, the All-Blacks have their own HAKA that they perform before games. Some people even want to ban the cultural performance because it give the NZ team a special advantage…the team’s specially composed HAKA ends with a violent pose of throat slashing of the enemy! Many others consider this use of the HAKA to be disrespectful and a clear form of cultural appropriation which ought not to be celebrated.

National Haka Competition
Photo by
Photograph: Aaron Smale/IKON/IKON

The Haka has a history of protest and resistance, especially with roots to resistance to white colonialism. Recently, a program for inner city athletes in Watts, Los Angeles (an inner city area with a long history of violence and protest), taugh the HAKA to the participating youngsters by a New Zealander. Special care was taken to enculturate the HAKA in its original setting and meanings, so it could be performed respectfully. Just as the Psalms can serve to express violent emotions that lead to group healing for Christians and Jews, the HAKA is an important cultural resource for #Resistance.

Using the HAKA as a response to a White Supremacist terrorist and his appalling acts against Muslim citizens, New Zealand students found a way to express their enduring solidarity with all the members of their diverse nation. The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has vowed never to say the name of the perpetrator, now in custody, but only to remember the victims by name. New Zealand properly consigns the mass murderer to extinction, reversing his intent of murdering another ethnic group. He tried to impose silence on the diverse world of New Zealand; instead, he is the one who is silenced by this brave people and their response!

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