Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Haka

During our post-conference hike, we spent two days in Paradise, where some of the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed. The scenery in the area is truly astounding, but more on that later. The cool thing that happens at U Otago's Physical Education program is that, prior to the start of 2nd year, students are taken on an outdoor experience in Paradise. There, they learn outdoor skills including firelighting, river crossing, tramping (hiking in Kiwi-speak), and teamwork. The other important thing they learn, apart from being comfortable in nature, is Maori history, worldview, approach to health and wellness, etc. It's really quite neat. At the end of each session of camp, the students perform a Maori haka, or song and dance.
Many of us know the Haka from the rugby All-Blacks, but that is just one of many songs, and both men and women can be part of it. As you can see here, the guys REALLY got into it, and it's very powerful to see it in action. Of course, if this was an angry 120 kg All-Black doing this, I'd be off to another continent (and incontinent!) in no time!