Consumer Pulse
- Global
Dominance of
the Haka
Melissa Carvalho, Sri Lanka

“HAKA” is a traditional “Maori dance” which originated as a traditional war cry or display of power. Pre-European era warriors performed the "HAKA“ prior to battle to show their strength and power to intimidate their rival tribes.

The Haka display was an acknowledgement of triumph, and respect and was performed additionally, at funerals & special occasions. Haka stood for masculinity, potency, brute strength, and dominance.

While the nature of modern war and conflict has changed over time, the spirit of battle and warfare of old is preserved in the traditions of team sport. Particularly in sports like Australian Football and Rugby, the Haka tradition continues through its representation in team sports.

The New Zealand football team was one of the first to adopt this tradition, which was later embraced by a host of sports teams, most notably the New Zealand “ALL BLACKS” rugby team in the early 1990’s.

Traditional Maori Haka

In Sri Lanka, school sports inspire strong loyalty among current students and alumni. Team sports like cricket and rugby inspire the biggest shows of support, and there are traditional rivalries, between certain schools, that date back several decades.
The Haka tradition, with its strong connotations of masculinity, potency, and dominance, was eagerly adopted by school Rugby teams – and today, as much as it is used for posturing and intimidation, the Haka dance inspires confidence and courage among team members as well. Starting off with a few teams such as those of Trinity College Kandy, and Wesley College Colombo it has now become a relatively more common occurrence.

Students of Trinity College

Contact sports such as Rugby, can be identified as being the modern incarnation of ancient battles and warfare. The Haka dance has taken over the world of contact sports, as a politically correct way of overtly communicating power, virility, and dominance before a game. It could be seen as a prime example of how the primitive element still lives within the modern human being and continues to subconsciously trigger powerful emotions.

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