War cry

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 July, 2007, 12:00am

The haka is a traditional Maori dance that is more familiar to sports fans as it is performed by New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team before every match. The ritual is performed to promote New Zealand's heritage and perhaps also to intimidate the other team and motivate the players to win.

The All Blacks were first reported to have performed a haka before a match in 1884. Since then the tradition has been part of the team's heritage. A brand new haka was written for the team in 2005 celebrating the land of New Zealand and the silver fern team symbol.

Although the All Blacks have made one type of haka familiar, they are not only war dances. Some are performed by women, others by mixed groups, and some simple haka are performed by children. There are also different reasons for performing them; welcoming guests, entertainment and to celebrate achievement.