How to learn the haka dance

Learn the Haka with our team building corporate workshops at Haka Works


Build your Māori language confidence with May Lee Allen

Confidence-building beginner courses where you will learn the fundamentals of the Māori language, interwoven with key cultural concepts around language, learning and life. Through fully interactive lessons you will practise speaking Māori in a supportive group and develop confidence in using Te Reo in everyday kiwi situations.

Keep a look out for our next online course or get in touch if you’d like us to create a bespoke course for your organisation.

Check out our latest public courses and events

Book now

Speak Māori

With Me

Māori Cultural and haka workshops (online)

Have you ever wanted to learn haka? Or waiata-a-ringa, our famous action songs?

Haka Works provides educational workshops online, teaching Māori culture, song and dance. These family-friendly workshops are open to everyone interested in Māori culture so get the grandparents and kids involved. (You don’t need to be a rugby player!) Check them out! We endeavour to provide these community workshops free or at minimal cost. Haere mai – welcome!

Book now

Māori Cultural

and haka workshops


Haka Works Talks

Haka Works founder Karl Burrows meets leading practitioners and theorists as he explores Māori culture and learnings for the corporate world. Discover how tools from Māori culture can help us all find purpose, in business and life.

We speak to the leaders bringing indigenous knowledge to the world and running their organisations in step with their indigenous values. Hear how people are making a difference to the world by knowing and being themselves, rooted in their own sense of identity.

Follow Haka Works Talk on:

Follow us
Apple Podcasts

Episode 16

Listen to our latest Podcast

Available on:

Previous Podcasts

Dan Walker

Dan Walker is the Global Co Chair of Indigenous at Microsoft. He says being Maori is his super power. Is there a place for indigenous knowledge within tech? Are corporations...

Episode 16

Mark Tume

Mark Tume is a full time company director. He has been on boards of some of the biggest companies in Australasia and is currently chair of Infratil, Ngai Tahu Holdings,...

Episode 15

Dr Ripeka Burke

We talk to Dr. Ripeka Burke from her home in Germany about the haka performed by a right wing German group. Ripeka has a doctorate from Victoria University's Maori department....

Episode 14


Keep up-to-date with the latest news, events and campaigns.

Global Moves: Learn the Haka of New Zealand w/ Amelia Butler

See Dates

$20 per device

1 hour

$20 per person

See Dates

What We’ll Do

There are many ways to explore a new culture, from tasting foods and exploring architecture to reading literature and listening to music. In this series, we’ll explore the world through movement and dance!

From the tarantella of Italy to the haka of New Zealand, during this live 1-hour experience, you’ll discover the roots of cultural dances from around the globe and uncover the meaning behind the moves. Rather than just sitting down and watching a performance, you’re invited to get up and learn the moves yourself. During a crash course tutorial, your host will break down a short sequence of steps that you can use in the grand finale group performance!

This month, we’ll be learning about haka, the traditional war dance of the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, with instructor Amelia Butler of Learn Māori Abroad!

We’ll not only learn the history and cultural significance of the haka in this workshop, but we’ll get up and learn some haka moves as well! Haka incorporates full-body movement, voice, facial expressions, self-expression, mind, breath, spirit, posture, and action. The movements of the haka activate your personal power and authentic self while creating unity with the self and others. Don't miss this chance to learn about one of the most enlivening dances in the world, and experience the power of this cultural phenomenon!

Where We’ll Be


Share this event with someone who would love it.

Copy Link

About Your Host

Amelia Butler

What Else You Should Know

Once registered, you can access the Zoom room for this experience through your confirmation email or Eventbrite account. Atlas Obscura online experiences are recommended for attendees age 13+.

This Online Experience will be recorded. A temporary link to the recording will be provided in a follow-up email to all ticket holders within 72 hours after the event. Access to this recording will be available for seven days.

We provide closed captioning for all of our Online Experiences, as well as transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at [email protected] if you have any questions, requests, or access needs.

This event is one of Atlas Obscura’s Online Experiences. At Atlas Obscura, our mission has always been to inspire wonder and curiosity about the incredible world we all share. Now, more than ever, there’s a need to stay connected—not only to our sense of wonder, but to each other.

We encourage you to follow and share the hashtag #AOExperiences for more incredible online experiences and our newest addition of Online Courses with Atlas Obscura and our friends. And check out, the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders, to keep virtually exploring the world through the website’s atlas of amazing places, unique stories, and videos.

Dates and Availability

New Zealand haka - intimidation, energy and tradition. Born of legends, turns 100+ and infuriates rivals

Nikolay Zhivoglyadov

When apathy and laziness hits you, just watch this video:

Seen - haka. This is a war dance of the Maori people [the indigenous people of New Zealand before the arrival of Europeans]. Its purpose is to intimidate the enemy and add confidence. Warriors performed haka immediately before the battle or on the road, when they left their native village. The New Zealand rugby team has turned a folk tradition into an important ritual and recognizable performance.

Haka is accompanied by stomping, aggressive flailing of arms, bulging eyes, protruding tongue, and belligerent cries. In the traditional form, the Maori made tattoos on the body, were naked and put on special attributes.

Associating haku only with war is a mistake. Translated from the Maori language, haka means dance in general. Haka is part of a common culture, a memory of the past and a way to talk about the traditions and identity of the people. Now it is performed during the visit of foreign delegations and at various ceremonies, danced in the army, studied at school and universities and dedicated to annual festivals. Three main types of khaki:

  1. Ceremonial hack. It is performed without weapons and with the aim of expressing personal or public feelings. Haka greeting or funeral haka are suitable here. The dance is performed mainly by men, the role of women is the creation of musical accompaniment.
  2. Military khaka. It was performed with weapons before the battle, during or after. Distinctive features: only men dance, often naked and with tattoos on their bodies, during the performance the participants jump.
  3. Khaka for women only. Usually performed during the reception of guests.

imago sportfotodienst/Global Look Press

Rugby players have been performing the haka since the 19th century, and an updated version was demanded to be banned due to a cruel gesture

In the late 19th century, the haka adapted to the sport, and in 1888 was first performed by New Zealand rugby players in the UK. For a whole century, the haka remained exclusively a guest feature of the New Zealanders, but since 1986 it has been performed at all matches.

Until 2005, New Zealand only performed the haka Ka mate, Ka mate ["I'm dying, I'm dying"]. Two legends, how she appeared:

  1. The traditional haka was invented by Maori leader Te Rauparaha in 1810 when he fled from an enemy tribe and hid in a pit. Helped friend Te Rangikoea and his wife, who closed the entrance to the pit. When the enemy left, Te Rauparaha climbed out of the pit and performed a haka dance in joy.
  2. Haku was invented by the chief Tinirau and his women. Tinirau wanted to take revenge on the priest Kaya, who killed his tame whale, and sent a group of hunters in search. They didn't know what Kae looked like. The main difference is crooked teeth that overlap each other. The huntresses came to a strange village and danced a haka dance to make the men smile. So Kae betrayed himself: they seized him, brought him to Tinirau and killed him.

ZUMAPRESS/Global Look Press

What you saw in the video is Kapa o Pango haka. In 2005, composer and artist Derek Lardelli invented it specifically for rugby players. The New Zealanders performed a new dance before the match with South Africa, but the effect was negative: Kapa o Pango was demanded to be banned due to the ending with a slit throat gesture. Lardelli explained that this is not at all about cruelty and not about threats: such a movement is a symbol of filling the body with energy. Kapa o Pango is not a replacement for Ka mate, Ka mate, but an addition.

At the 2019 World Cup, New Zealand performed a reworked version of Kapa o Pango without an aggressive gesture (compare the endings here and here). Khaki has a leader - usually a descendant of Maori, but this is not a necessary condition. Kevin Mealamu led the dance 31 times (including his last match of his career at the 2015 World Cup). A concentration of patriotism in two lines: “I've been doing haka in my backyard since I was four years old. It's something we're proud of as part of our culture."

New Zealanders have been performing haka for the past three years under the direction of Thomas Perenara. “For me, haka is a connection with the earth, a connection with my ancestors and my brothers who are next to me,” says Perenara.

ZUMAPRESS/Global Look Press

Wayne Shelford made the haku so aggressive and recognizable. He tore his scrotum on the field, but played through the pain

The ex-captain of New Zealand appeared in the national team in the 80s, when the execution of khaki was very different from the modern look - not so fiery and aggressive. “A lot of players didn’t like it, they were either shy or didn’t feel any connection to history,” Shelford says.

He decided that the team should change its attitude towards traditions. “We need to train and work hard to be proud of it,” Shelford told the players. For the team, he conducted special training sessions on the history of hacks, movements and pronunciation: “These training sessions were damn fun. Big and proud men were asked to loosen up and dance. Some just didn't have any rhythm and had to learn to just dangle their hands. By the World Cup-87, everything was completely different. ”

The further you go, the more emotions and awareness you get. The haka is now New Zealand's most recognizable rugby symbol. See the evolution for yourself:

Shelford had an important mission: “With the revival of khaki, Maori culture has penetrated into all spheres of life - it is in schools, there are attractions for tourists, their art has become popular. I'm proud of how it's grown and how players are taking it now. They are just as passionate."

The reaction of opponents to haku is the most mixed. Indifference, aggression and dance response

1989 . During the performance, Ireland formed a V-formation and came close to the New Zealanders. From that moment on, the referees were advised to stay between the teams so that a fight would not start.

1996 . Ignoring. Australia warmed up in their own half and didn't watch New Zealand perform the haka.

1997 . The Englishman Richard Cockerill came so close to his opponent during the haki that he grabbed the punishment. Cockerill hooked up with Norm Hewitt, which nearly provoked a fight. Both were pushed by the judge.

ZUMAPRESS/Global Look Press

2003 . The answer is with their dance (this is common among the teams of Oceania), as the team of Tonga did.

2007 . Another option to reduce the pressure of the New Zealanders is to stand in front of them with a straight wall. That's what the French did.

2008 . Ignore 2.0. Wales just stood motionless for two minutes after doing the Haki.

Follow us on social networks

All photos: ZUMAPRESS/Global Look Press

Nikolai Zhivoglyadov

Author. The longest texts.

Learning about world cultures through sport:

Haka New Zealand - LiveJournal

Probably, our traditions are also assessed by someone as something strange and even terrible. I want to remember - for example? Here are some of our traditions that the New Zealander can perceive in the same way that we perceive their haka tradition.

Haka (Maori haka) is a New Zealand Maori ritual dance during which the performers stomp their feet, beat their thighs and chest, and shout out the accompaniment.

The Maori word "haka" means "dance in general" and also "song accompanying the dance". Haka cannot be attributed exclusively to "dances" or "songs": in the words of Alan Armstrong, haka is a composition in which each instrument - arms, legs, body, tongue, eyes - performs its own part.

Characteristic details of the hack - the dance is performed simultaneously by all participants and is accompanied by grimaces. The grimaces (movements of the eyes and tongue) are very important, and they determine how well the dance is performed. The women who performed the haka did not stick out their tongues[6]. Non-military haka may contain wave-like movements of the fingers or hands. The leader of the dance (male or female) calls out one or two lines of text, after which the rest respond in unison with the chorus

Dance at the wedding:

Players of the New Zealand national rugby team performed the traditional national haka ritual dance before their first 2015 World Cup match against Argentina. An impressive performance helped, and the All Blacks took the win 26-16. And this YouTube video has already been viewed more than 145 thousand times in two days:

There are several different legends about the origin of the hack. According to one of them, this dance was first performed by women who were looking for a certain Kae, who killed a whale that belonged to the leader of the tribe. The women didn't know what he looked like, but they knew he had crooked teeth. Kae was among other people, and in order to identify him in the crowd, the women performed a funny dance with comical movements. Seeing the haku, Kae laughed and was recognized.

Haka was performed mainly in the evening for entertainment; there were purely male haka, women's, children's, as well as suitable for adults of both sexes. Also, with the help of this dance, guests were greeted[12]. The welcoming dances usually began militantly, since the greeters did not know the intentions of the arrivals[13]. It was with this militant dance that the armed Maori greeted James Cook in 1769.

Christian missionary Henry Williams wrote: “It is necessary to ban all the old customs, dances, singing and tattoos, the main local orgy. In Auckland, people like to gather in large groups to demonstrate their terrifying dances. Over time, the attitude towards dances on the part of Europeans improved, haku began to be regularly performed during the visits of the royal family.

In the 21st century, haka is regularly performed in the New Zealand Armed Forces. Twice a year, since 1972, a festival-competition in haka Te Matatini (Maori Te Matatini) has been held. Since the end of the 19th century, rugby teams have performed this dance before the competition, in the 2000s this tradition caused numerous controversies and accusations by the All Blacks of "devaluation" of the haka

Seeing off the last journey of a dead soldier:

This is a copy of the article located at http://masterokblog.

Learn more