Story: Kapa Haka

Haka pōwhiri for Māori Battalion, 1946

Welcoming important guests has always been an occasion for kapa haka performances. This clip from a government newsreel shows the haka pōwhiri (ceremonies of welcome) on Wellington's Aotea Quay in January 1946 for 780 surviving members of the 28th (Māori) Battalion. The performance features women using traditional weapons such as the taiaha (fighting staff). This practice was reintroduced by kapa haka groups in the 1990s, when it was often condemned as contrary to Māori custom.

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Archives New Zealand – Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: Weekly Review 232. National Film Unit, 1946

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How to cite this page:

Valance Smith, 'Kapa Haka - What is kapa haka?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 May 2022)

Story by Valance Smith, published 22 Oct 2014