The Dances of New Zealand

This exclusive web extra features members of Halau Hula A Kawika Laua 'O Leinani performing the Haka and the poi balls, traditional dances of the Maori people of New Zealand.

The Haka

The haka is a traditional dance of the Maori people of New Zealand, or as the Maori call it, "Land of the Long White Cloud."

While the haka has been popularized for it's association with the All Blacks, New Zealand's national rugby team, there are actually many forms of the dance. The most widely known version, and the one used by the All Blacks, is the "Ka Mate." Despite the seemingly fierce, warlike gestures on display, this is a celebratory dance and is accredited to Te Rauparaha, a leader of the Ngāti Toa tribe during the early 19th century.

There are many of versions of the haka and historically the form was used for many different purposes ranging from greeting friendly tribes (powhiri) to preparing for battle (peruperu). There was also a divinatory haka (tutungarahu), as well as a funeral lament performed by women (maemae).

The Poi Balls

The other widely known dance of the Maori is called poi, where women swing decorated balls attached to strings. The dance's popularity derives from its adoption in late 19th century by the Maori prophets Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi as an emblem of their religious movement to regain ancestral land lost to European colonizers. Today, the dance has continued to enjoy popularity and has been adapted in many ways.

hula.jpgAbout Halau Hula A Kawika Laua 'O Leinani
Halau Hula A Kawika Laua 'O Leinani is a professional, authentic Polynesian dance troupe that performs songs and dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand, Tonga. Our troupe has dazzled audiences for more than 15 yrs. The live music of "Kalika" and the dances of Halau Hula a Kawika laua 'O Leinani have captivated such audiences as the Hawaiian Hilton Village in Oahu, the Donny and Marie Show, the Disney Company, Jet Propulsion Labs, Hughes Aircraft, the House of Blues, Keali'I Reichel at the Hollywood Bowl, the Las Vegas Fremont Experience, and the Aloha Concert Jam to name a few. Recently the troupe completed a marketing tour with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau throughout Southern California and Europe. For more info, visit the website.

The journey continues, click here to discover the traditional dances of Samoa!

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The Dances of Tahiti

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