Iconic haka deserves respect: rangatahi protecting Ka Mate

Ka Mate may be the most well-known haka around the world. But with its popularity comes a lot of misuse and exploitation - something that rangatahi of Ngāti Toa Rangatira are impacted by. 

Te Rauparaha Horomona is a namesake of his direct tupuna who composed Ka Mate. “There's huge power and meaning behind this haka,” he says. 

“It's been etched into the hearts of every descendant of Ngāti Toa and I guess you could call it the national anthem of our iwi.”

The famous haka is deeply rooted in the identity of these Ngāti Toa descendants who want people to learn about the haka and its history before using and potentially disrespecting it.

“When other people misuse Ka Mate, it's pretty hurtful,” says Ngāti Toa descendant Kamiria Keelan-Demuth.

Ngāti Toa are very open about educating people on their haka and encourage people to come to their rohe to learn and embrace its history and mana. 

A new free trade deal includes commitments to protect the interests of Ngāti Toa when it comes to using Ka Mate in the United Kingdom.

“Te Rauparaha was someone who challenged the world, so here's my challenge to everyone. Come and learn our haka the right way from me and my whānau and my elders.”

This is part of our reo Māori series, Ohinga, created by Mahi Tahi Media, with funding from Te Māngai Pāho and the NZ on Air Public Interest Journalism Fund. Stay tuned for a new episode every week.

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