How to do a haka, not a 'pākehāka'

  • 26/02/2018

The haka is a New Zealand tradition frequently imitated by people from around the world who mean well but don't often get it right.

Two experts spoke to The Project about their top tips for executing the perfect haka - and not a 'pākehāka'.

Eru Rarere-Wilton and Shane McLean from Kai Haka say anyone can do the haka, "but if you're going to do it, try to do it right".

The most important thing is to be yourself.

"Don't try to be someone you're not. If you're not Māori , have a Māori teach you how to do it."

They advise anyone trying their hand at the war dance to bring their "ihi, wehi, wana - charisma, enthusiasm and inspiration."

They've got one hard rule: never do the haka after a few drinks.

"When you do it drunk you lose all tradition, you start ripping off your shirt, and nobody wants to see that."

After a query from guest host Petra Bagust, they confirmed women are welcome to do the haka as well.

"Haka actually started from the women. Everybody has a bit of haka in them. I'm sure your husband didn't do the dishes one night and you had a bit of haka brewing up in you."

It's important to stay focused in order to perform your best haka.

"If you make a mistake, carry on. It's not about you, it's about the group."

They say it's important to know your words and actions - but if you forget, they have a secret tip.

"If you don't know your words, we have this thing called a pūkana."

Last but not least, be staunch while doing the haka - even if it doesn't come naturally.

"If you're a bit wimpy, just think of The Rock [Dwayne Johnson]."

Watch the video for the full Project segment.