Published on: 27 February 2014

Year 8 Drama students explored the movements and sounds of traditional Maori hakas as part of their studies into rituals this term. Acting Head of Drama Nicky Garside said linking the familiar dance to the origins of theatre gave the unit immediate appeal to the boys.

Mrs Garside, who stressed they did not teach or perform a full haka (in cultural respect) but focused on sounds and postures used, said the link to sport resonated with boys. “All boys are familiar with the All Black’s haka so this tied in nicely as an introduction to ancient and modern day rituals,” she said.

Mrs Garside said the boys viewed many versions of the haka, explored the language used and the performance style, and were asked in small groups to create their own pastiche. “The boys had to pick out key movements and words, use repetition, and make connections between these to create an original piece for assessment,” she said.

“The boys really seemed to enjoy the unit and take the work seriously. They had to show intensity, commitment and confidence in order to give the intimidating performance that is required for such a dance,” Mrs Garside said.

The classes also discussed the link to the School’s war cry Linga, whose composer 1953 School Captain, Arthur Pate, was inspired by the haka.