Rugby World Cup: All Blacks' 'Ka Mate' Haka explained by most Basque New Zealanders

Rugby World Cup: All Blacks' 'Ka Mate' Haka explained by most Basque New Zealanders

“Ka mate! Ka mate!”. Before every international rugby match against New Zealand, after the national anthem, there is always that special moment. That of the haka during which the 15 blacks beat their chests and thighs with their fists and the ground with their feet. the A face with bulging eyes and sometimes a tongue hanging out. One island ritual is explained by Shaun Spring, a former New Zealand Māori rugby player, who has settled in the Basque Country since 1992 to play rugby for US Garazzi, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, which has since become US Navarro. Today he lives in Lahons and is still touring the rugby world. He runs a Haka Maori company that specializes in team building.

“You have to tell a story.”

“Haka means ‘to do’ in Maori. In the broad sense: dancing, singing. Then you need a third element, you have to tell a story. There are thousands of haka. Every tribe, every school, etc.” It has its own haka. It is a way of unification and recognition.” The All Blacks version of the haka is called “Ka Mate”. It was inspired in the 1820s by the story of the Māori leader Te Rauparaha.


He managed to escape after being held captive by an enemy tribe. While escaping, he hides in the hole of a house in a friendly village to escape his captors. The chief of this village and his wife hide, and he sees the warriors arriving looking for him, so he repeats in a low voice: “Ka mate, ka mate” (“I will die, I will die”). After that the man starts to get out of danger He celebrates life and shouts: “Ka ora, ka ora” ( “I see the sun and I will live” ).

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1905: The birth of a legend

Before thanking the village chief and his wife: “Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru, Nana nei i tiki mai, whakawhiti te ra” (“Here is the hairy man who went and snatched the sun and made it rise again.”). at the end: “Hobani, Kobani! Witty te ra! Hey!” (“One step up! Another step up! Be strong and fast before the rising sun! I'm alive, yes!). This day was born “Ka mate! Ka mate!”.

As for introducing this haka to the world of rugby? We need to take a leap in time. Until 1905, to be precise. It was on this date, while they were there First foreign tour In the United Kingdom, but also in France and against Canada, whose predecessors All blacks Launching what would quickly become a legend.


All Blacks Hakka translated | Ka mate

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