During 1888-89, the New Zealand Native team toured the Home Nations of the United Kingdom, the first team from a colony to do so. It was originally intended that only Māori players would be selected, but four "whites" were finally included. As the "whites" were born in New Zealand, the name "Native" was considered justified. The team performed a haka before the start of their first match on 3 October 1888 against Surrey. They were described as using the words "Ake ake kia kaha" which suggests that the haka was not "Ka Mate". It was intended that before each match they would perform the haka dressed in traditional Māori costume but the costumes were soon discarded.
New Zealand played its first full international test match when it played Australia in Sydney in August 1903. The New Zealanders' warcry was "Tena Koe Kangaroo." (full details below)
In 1905 New Zealand made their first tour of Britain. This was the first time the team were referred to as the All Blacks and this particular team also became known as the 'Originals'. It is uncertain whether they performed a haka before every match, but they at least performed "Ka Mate" before their first test, against Scotland, and before the match against Wales. The Welsh crowd, led by the Welsh team, responded by singing the Welsh national anthem.
When a New Zealand Army team played Wales in 1916, the words of "Ka Mate" were included in the printed programme, indicating that the haka was established as an accompaniment to New Zealand rugby teams playing overseas.
The 1924-25 New Zealand rugby team which toured the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Canada and which was nicknamed the Invincibles, performed a haka that was written for them during the voyage to England by two supporters, Judge Frank Acheson of the Native Land Court and Wiremu Rangi of Gisborne. The haka was led by star player George Nepia. It was performed before all but two of the tour matches. Reporters criticized the team for disappointing the crowd on the two occasions it was not performed.
A pre-match haka was not always performed on All Blacks tours. The team that toured Britain in 1935-36 did not perform one before matches, although they did some impromptu performances at social functions. In the early decades, haka were only rarely performed at home matches, such as the third test of the 1921 Springboks tour, played in Wellington.
I die, I die: I live, I live; this is the hairy man who enabled me to live as I climb up step by step toward sunlight.
These words are still used today. Te Rauparaha's escape from death is commemorated in the haka, which can be interpreted as 'a celebration of life over death' (Pōmare 2006).
|Leader:||Ringa pakia!||Slap the hands against the thighs!|
|Uma tiraha!||Puff out the chest!|
|Turi whatia!||Bend the knees!|
|Hope whai ake!||Let the hip follow!|
|Waewae takahia kia kino!||Stamp the feet as hard as you can!|
|Leader:||Ka mate, ka mate||'I die, I die,|
|Team:||Ka ora' Ka ora'||'I live, 'I live,|
|Leader:||Ka mate, ka mate||'I die, 'I die|
|Team:||Ka ora Ka ora "||'I live, 'I live,|
|All:||Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru||This is the hairy man|
|Nāna i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā||...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 rā,!||The sun shines!|
This interpretation of the lyrics is open to debate.
|Tena koe, Kangaroo||How do you do, Kangaroo!|
|Tupoto koe, Kangaroo!||You look out, Kangaroo!|
|Niu Tireni tenei haere nei||New Zealand is invading you|
|Au Au Aue a!||Woe woe woe to you!|
The Post's rugby correspondent later reported that the warcry was first practiced by the New Zealand team in mid-Tasman on Monday 13 July, and first performed "in response to several calls" at their official reception at Sydney on Thursday.
The New Zealanders played ten matches on the tour (won 10, lost 0, points for 276, points against 13). Presumably the warcry was performed before all their matches although a search in PapersPast (paperspast.natlib.govt.nz) only located its use on 29 July 1903 before the New Zealand v Metropolitan Union match at Sydney (Taranaki Herald, 30 July 1903).
The Invincibles performed this haka during their unbeaten 1924-1925 tour. It was written during their voyage to England by Wiremu Rangi of Gisborne, and polished up by Judge Acheson of the Native Land Court. It had two verses, but the second verse (Put a few of your famous teams on display, and let's play each other in friendship) was omitted in later matches.
|Kia whakangawari au i a hau||Let us prepare ouselves for the fray|
|I au-e! Hei!||(The sound of being ready)|
|Ko Niu Tireni e haruru nei!||The New Zealand storm is about to break|
|Au, Au, aue hā! Hei!||(The sound of the imminent storm.)|
|Ko Niu Tireni e haruru nei!||The New Zealand storm waxes fiercer|
|Au, Au, aue hā! Hei!||(Sounds of The height of the storm.)|
|Ka tū te ihiihi||We shall stand fearless|
|Ka tū te wanawana||We shall stand exalted in spirit|
|Ki runga ki te rangi,||We shall climb to the heavens|
|E tū iho nei, tū iho nei, hī!||We shall attain the zenith the utmost heights.|
|Au! Au! Au!|
Newspaper reports of early games spoke of the weird war cry of the visitors in response to the crowds' singing. Thus the fifth game at Swansea began with 40,000 waiting Welshmen singing Cwm Rhondda, Sospan Fach, Land of My Fathers and then God save the Queen, to which the All Blacks responded with a weird chant led by Nepia.
But as fame of their unbeaten status spread, so did the status of their haka. At the beginning of their 22nd game in Wales at Llanelly, we read
"On the appearance of the men in red, "Sosban Fach" was sung with great enthusiasm. Nepia then led the All Blacks in their famous war dance, which was very impressive. One could almost hear a pin drop while it was rendered. The crowd again sang 'Sosban Fach' in reply."
Source, The Triumphant Tour! : the All Blacks in England, Ireland and Wales, 1924-1925. This rugby treasure is mostly reprints of extensive newspaper reports of each match of the tour.
Irish writer James Joyce heard this haka performed at the Invincibles' match at Paris in January 1925. He modified some of the words and used them in his word-play novel "Finnegans Wake."
Let us propel us for the frey of the fray! Us, us, beraddy!
Ko Niutirenis hauru leish! A lala!
Ko Niutirenis haururu laleish! Ala lala!
The Wullingthund sturm is breaking.
The sound of maormaoring
The Wellingthund sturm waxes fuercilier.
Finnegan's Wake, 2nd ed. 1950, Book II chap ii, page 335.
The new haka was developed by Derek Lardelli of Ngāti Porou by modifying the first verse of "Ko Niu Tirini," the haka used by the 1924 All Blacks. An NZRU press release stated that
Kapa o Pango has been over a year in the making, and was created in consultation with many experts in Māori culture. It will serve as a complement to "Ka Mate" rather than a replacement, to be used for 'special occasions'.However, the NZRU failed to acknowledge their debt to the creativity and mana of members of the 1924 Invincibles, and the high status that the Invincibles' haka had attained by the end of 1925 was damaged by the public-relations disaster during the haka's 2005 re-incarnarnaion.
The All Blacks opted not to perform "Kapa o Pango" in their opening test of 2006 against . It was requested that they perform their usual Ka Mate haka while a review was conducted into "Kapa o Pango". The throat-slitting action at the end of "Kapa o Pango" had drawn many complaints in the lead-up to the Irish test, with members of the public complaining about it to the NZRU. The NZRU said that it was not because of public pressure that it was not performed against Ireland.
In the run-up to the first All Blacks Test of the 2006 Tri Nations at Jade Stadium in Christchurch against , the NZRU completed their review, and concluded that the gesture had a radically different meaning within Māori culture and haka traditions, indicating the drawing of "hauora", the breath of life into the heart and lungs. And so "Kapa o Pango" was performed, complete with the final gesture, before the Australia test.
Despite this, the controversial gesture appears to have been withdrawn in 2007, with a modified action (raking the right arm from the left hip to over the right shoulder) performed in the challenge when "Kapa o Pango" was performed in test matches against France and South Africa.
|Kapa o Pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!||All Blacks, let me become one with the land|
|Hī aue, hī!|
|Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!||This is our land that rumbles|
|Au, au, aue hā!||It’s my time! It’s my moment!|
|Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!||This defines us as the All Blacks|
|Au, au, aue hā!||It’s my time! It’s my moment!|
|Ka tū te ihiihi||Our dominance|
|Ka tū te wanawana||Our supremacy will triumph|
|Ki runga ki te rangi e tū iho nei, tū iho nei, hī!||And be placed on high|
|Ponga rā!||Silver fern!|
|Kapa o Pango, aue hī!||All Blacks!|
|Ponga rā!||Silver fern!|
|Kapa o Pango, aue hī, hā!||All Blacks!|
|Taringa whakarongo!||Let your ears listen|
|Kia rite! Kia rite! Kia mau! Hī!||Get ready...! Line up...! Steady...! Yeah!|
|Kia whakawhenua au i ahau!||Let me become one with the land|
|Hī aue, hī!||(assertive sounds to raise adrenaline levels)|
|Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!||New Zealand is rumbling here|
|Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!||The Team in Black is rumbling here|
|Au, au, aue hā!|
|Ka tū te ihiihi||Stand up to the fear|
|Ka tū te wanawana||Stand up to the terror|
|Ki runga ki te rangi,||To the sky above,!|
|E tū iho nei, tū iho nei, hī!||Fight up there, high up there. Yeah!|
|Ponga rā!||The shadows fall!|
|Kapa o Pango, aue hī!||Team in Black, yeah!|
|Ponga rā!||Darkness falls!|
|Kapa o Pango, aue hī, hā!||Team in Black, Yeah, Ha!|
The words of both 'Kapa o Pango' and 'Ko Niu Tireni' are taken from the haka of the earthquake god Ruaumoko, Ko Ruaumoko e ngunguru nei. The lines beginning Ka tū te ihi-ihi... are found in many old haka.Ponga ra, ponga ra is the opening line of 'Te Kiri Ngutu,' an 1880s lament for stolen territory.
The haka, whilst normally enjoyed by spectators, has been criticised as an unsporting attempt to intimidate the opposition before the match begins. However, most teams accept that the Haka is a legitimate part of Rugby's Heritage and face up to the All Blacks during its performance, with both teams standing about 10 metres apart. The 2007 Portuguese Rugby team Captain Vasco Uva said of the Haka that "[We] faced it, gave it the respect it deserved and it gave us motivation and we knew if it gave them strength, it was also a point of strength for us."
Ignoring the Haka is a tactic sometimes used by opposing teams. Famously, the Australian rugby team did a warm up drill well away from the All Blacks during their 1996 Test Match in Wellington, and were beaten by a record score. More recently, the Italian rugby team ignored the Haka during a 2007 World Cup Pool Match, and the All Blacks then went on to beat them by a larger than expected score. All Black hooker, Keven Mealamu, said later that the snub had backfired and provided motivation to his team.
In 1997, Richard Cockerill was disciplined for responding to the haka before the start of an England vs All Blacks game. Cockerill went toe-to-toe with his opposite number Norm Hewitt while they performed the Haka. The Referee became so concerned that Hewitt and Cockerill would begin fighting that he pushed Cockerill away from Hewitt. Cockerill went onto say afterwards "I believe that I did the right thing that day," he said. "They were throwing down a challenge and I showed them I was ready to accept it. I'm sure they would rather we did that than walk away.
At the 1999 Bledisloe Cup match at Telstra Stadium, Sydney, 107,000 voices sang Waltzing Matilda as a response to the New Zealand haka. The Australian players responded by delivering New Zealand a record 28-7 defeat culminating in the cup being retained by Australia.
In 2005, the All Blacks agreed to a request from the Welsh Rugby Union to repeat the sequence of events from the original match a century before in 1905. This involved the All Blacks performing the haka after "God Defend New Zealand" and before "Hen Wlad fy Nhadau". For the November 2006 test, the WRU demanded a repeat of this sequence. The All Blacks refused, and instead chose to perform the haka in their changing room before the match. All Blacks captain Richie McCaw defended the decision by stating that the haka was "integral to New Zealand culture and the All Blacks' heritage" and "if the other team wants to mess around, we'll just do the haka in the shed". The crowd reacted negatively to the lack of the haka and then being shown brief footage of the haka on the screens at the Millennium Stadium.
In the 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, France, after having won the coin toss for the choice of uniforms, famously wore the blue/white/red of the French flag and walked up to within a metre of the Haka performance, forming a line of opposition to the performance by the All-Blacks, who were wearing a predominantly silver uniform (as opposed to the traditional all black). France went on to defeat the All-Blacks 20-18.