Sunday, November 3, 2013

Haka Childrens Haka | Teaching the Haka to Students

Are we missing important developmental opportunities by forgetting the importance of tribal rituals like the Māori Haka as a symbolic act of adulthood, manhood or a rite of passage? Rituals, chants, songs, dances have long been used by cultures to build unity, friendship, camaraderie, team spirit, loyalty and belonging. Today so many children and adults crave a cultural identity, a rich cultural identity that makes them feel they belong. We are by nature social animals, and we seek a focused altruistic purpose in life. Our family, tribe or village mentality has been lost or stolen by today's cultural norms, and sadly replaced with a consumer culture that thrives on rudeness, bad manners, disrespect, selfishness, and boorishness! Why are grace and manners a lost cultural norm?

The Maori Haka struck fear in the hearts of enemies for decades, learning it today can help students and teachers advance a modern ethos and a right of passage into adulthood. Can the power of a shared cathartic moment, spent participating in ancient rituals create an anagnorisis (critical discovery a life changing epiphany),  connecting children to a positive cultural identity? Unity and harmony is advanced when we cement our children to the past and bring them into the future with a sense of belonging.

Teaching the Haka to children is a great way to teach team building and the concept of "mastery learning" that the Common Core mandates! 

“demythologized” , lacking the rituals that connect us to our human condition. Lacking rituals that connect the individual to the culture, people are left to their own devices to make sense of the world, often placing the individual interpretation of life against that of the society. “America,” states Campbell, “has no ethos” . Instead of stories that convey “the wisdom of life” , we have lawyers and professionals who focus on specialized issues, but are often ignoring the greater reality” Joseph Campbell The Power of Myth

The Haka (plural is the same as singular: haka) is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. The New Zealand rugby team's practice of performing a haka before their matches has made the dance more widely known around the world.

Kindergartners learning The Haka

The "Ka Mate" haka generally opens with a set of five preparatory instructions shouted by the leader, before the whole team joins in:
"Ka Mate"
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 hips follow!
Waewae takahia kia kino!Stomp the feet as hard as you can!
Leader:Ka mate, ka mateI die, I die,
Team:Ka ora' Ka ora'I live, I live
Leader:Ka mate, ka mateI die, I die,
Team:Ka ora Ka ora "I live, I live,
All:Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuruThis is the hairy man
Nāna i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā...Who caused the sun to shine again for me
A Upane! Ka Upane!Up the ladder, Up the ladder
Upane Kaupane"Up to the top
Whiti te rā,!The sun shines!

The Power of Modern Ritual! 

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