The Maori Dance

While I was at the smelly town of Rotorua, I paid a visit to a Maori cultural village called Mitai.

The Maoris are the indigenous natives of New Zealand. According to legend, they came to New Zealand hundreds of years ago in large canoes, in a time before the European settlers arrived.
These days, although they are in the minority, much respect has been given to the Maori tradition and culture in modern New Zealand. They are to New Zealand what the Red Indians are to USA, the Malays are to Peninsular Malaysia, the Ibans are to Sarawak.
Entrance to the village costs NZD 68 / RM 167. When we arrived, we’re given a preview of dinner for later that night.

Do you smell what the rock is cooking?

The “hangi” is the Maori’s version of a barbeque. Stuff like chicken, lamb, potatoes are put on top of a pit filled with heated rocks and then cooked for several hours.

Tribal food normally tasted like somewhere between crap and dog poo, but this was the best meal I had in the long time. Maybe I was starving, but when I finally laid my hands on the meal, I gobbled everything down like a fat kid at Pizza Hut. The hangi produced a flavour so succulent, it’s unlike anything else I’ve tasted before.
Before dinner, we bushwalked through the forest to the stage where we were treated to the traditional Maori cultural performances.

It was a fascinating experience for me, because from learning about their tribal way of life, I realised much of the Maori cultural draws parallel to the tribal Iban culture I know of back home. Just like the Ibans, the Maoris place a lot of spiritual importance on their weapons, clothing and tattoos.
Without a doubt, the best part of the cultural performance is the traditional Maori Haka Dance.

The Haka dance

It’s the same dance used by the All Blacks before the start of their rugby match to boost team morale and scare away their opponents. The dance involves synchronised slapping of the thigh and chest, bulging of the eyes, sticking out of the tongues, all the while shouting in a foreign language few people understand.
Some people joke about the Haka Dance, saying that its the equivalent of a Maori wondering “where the f**k I put my car keys!?” But trust me, as much as I wanna laugh at a bunch of grown men dancing around in G-strings, I gotta admit it was terrifying just watching it.
Sitting there in the audience I was thinking if they wanted to eat me for dinner or something.

Please note that it is spelt as the HAKA dance, with one “k”. Not HAKKA, which is a Chinese dialect.
If you want to see a Hakka dance, just go to a night club in Malaysia playing Ah Beng techno music and you’ll see this familiar sight.

Want to see a Hakka dance?

Don’t have to fly all the way to New Zealand.

Rest In Peace.

93 Replies to “The Maori Dance”

  1. i just have to laugh my arse off reading the haka/hakka bit ๐Ÿ˜€
    yeah, the haka dance is intimidating and fascinating at the same time. it’s like you want to run away scared but stayed put because you want to see ‘the show’. lol.

  2. Actually, the American Red Indians no longer calls themselves that. For PC’s sake, they are now called Native Americans.

  3. I watched rugby partly to watch the NZ team do the Haka. I always said that if I was on the opposing team, I’d walk up to them and hand them the ball, then walk off the field. I’d be too scared to play.

  4. Kenny,
    You mean, what the Orang Asli are to Peninsular Malaysia, not the Malay. The Malays are perhaps like what the Europeans are to NZ.

  5. From my understanding, maori are not native either. they were the first settler. NZ was a no man land. Indians American, orang asli and abroginis in Aus are they real native

  6. “They are to New Zealand what the Red Indians are to USA, the Malays are to Peninsular Malaysia, the Ibans are to Sarawak.”
    Forgot to mention “Abo to Oz”? After all, Oz is ur fave place..

  7. Yes the meaning of ‘ngai tee’ in hakka is ‘I know’
    btw the hangi looks so yummylicious… i wanna try even i’m very full now ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. ‘ngai tee’ that you plp mention is different type of ‘ngai tee’. ‘I know’ is mention as ‘Ngai ti’ the word sound difference . Just the ‘tee….” and ‘ti’. In this case usually ‘ngai tee’ is like ‘e…’ For example “ngai tee your ball so big” . translate into english is “e…. you ball so big. Oh ya Ah Beng is not refer to Hakka should be Hokkien. If you watch Phua Chu Kang you know la.

  9. Dumbo hakka girl, why are you so narrow-minded? I’m a hakka as well, but I don’t see why I am not reacting the same way as you. dumb beetch.. throw hakka people face away la.. -.- dumb

  10. Dumbo hakka girl, why are you so narrow-minded? I’m a hakka as well, but I don’t see why I am not reacting the same way as you. dumb beetch.. throw hakka people face away la.. -.- dumb

  11. This is so cool! You just made me think of going to NZ. study or so whatever. It makes me think that NZ and Swak are so close.. And yes! Iban is the native of Sarawak and Malays are to Peninsular M’sia.

  12. ngai tee has many meanings ler… hav to c the pin yin oso lol! ngai tee means: i noe, omg!(hakka version) i guess dats all lol… im hakka… cheers!

  13. Kenny Sia
    you photographed some spiritual orbs on screen eh… those shiny balls are Orbs
    have a read :
    Orbs is the popular name given to typically circular anomalies appearing in photographs. In photography and video, orbs appear to be balls, diamonds, or smears of light with an apparent size in the image ranging from a golfball to a basketball. Orbs sometimes appear to be in motion, leaving a trail behind them.
    There are two main schools of thought regarding the cause of orbs in photographs. The first school sees it as a fairly clear-cut case of flash reflection off of dust, particles, insects, or moisture droplets in the air in front of the camera, i.e. they are naturalistic. The opposing school maintains that orbs are paranormal in nature, i.e. non-naturalistic.
    While some people claim that orbs are more likely to appear in certain locales, or are attracted to human actitivities, especially those involving children. The images on the Internet fora devoted to orbs are taken in graveyards, backyards, attics, and kitchens, as well as bars, convention centers, and city streets รขโ‚ฌโ€œ in short, anywhere people may be taking photos.
    As orb photos may demonstrably be gained anywhere, the position of “ghost hunters” who claim orb photos are more common in allegedly haunted areas is significantly weakened. That orb photos can be gained anywhere has, however, been adopted into the position of those who maintain that orbs are probes/devices being used by an alien culture to monitor human activities.
    Orb photos have become so common that some ghost-hunting organizations are no longer accepting submissions of them, or specifying that only “exceptional” examples be presented.
    Spirit orbs are sometimes claimed to exist more densely around certain haunted regions, or to be the spirits of departed loved ones. These types of orbs are sometimes claimed to have faces, sometimes with discernable expressions and sometimes of recognizable persons. Some feel the size of an orb indicates how great of an impact a life force had in its lifetime.
    Another view of spirit orbs holds that they are non-human spirits, with blue and red orbs symbolizing angels and the devil respectively. Another interpretation of colors in orbs is sex differentiation – blue for male spirits, and red for female.
    Spirit orbs are also felt by some to be curious, friendly protectors, particularly of children. Belief in these “orb friends” is reminiscent of the belief in fairies in the early part of the twentieth century.
    The paranormal belief in orbs is not so straightforward as those who believe that they are simply photographic artifacts. While an oft-encountered quote is “orbs are considered by some people to be the simplest and most common form of a disembodied spirit”, this concept is not supported by all within the paranormal faction. There are those who maintain that the orbs are caused by:
    * Ghosts/spirits
    * Angels/guardian spirits
    * Aliens
    * “The Little People” – elves, pixies, fairies
    * Interdimensional beings
    * Humans from the future
    * Hitherto unnoticed life forms
    source : Wikipedia

  14. “They are to New Zealand what the Red Indians are to USA, the Malays are to Peninsular Malaysia, the Ibans are to Sarawak.”
    oh come on, Malays are to Peninsular?
    There are certainly not. It is the senoi, the org asli, who is sidelined. Malays are like chinese and indians.. just that they come earlier abit and wrest control.

  15. kenny,pls make it clear that not all ah beng in the night club are hakka people. that is a discriminate statement you’ve made.

  16. Kenny,
    Making fun of others is the last thing you want to do especially in Kuching. Unless you want to take a real shot from the hakka gang who also hangs out where you usually hang out. Mind you Kuching is a small town.

  17. Hey Kenny,
    Im a studying in Perth right now and we just organised the Multi Cultural week. We did the Haka dance for our carnival as well. Thought that I’d ask you to check it out.
    This was our practise. Im trying to get hold of the actual one that we did on stage. Im the one leading!(not in screen) =)

  18. here we go again..
    could you please give it a rest please??
    Sure…. if they dont treat themselves as super special and ask chinese and indians to go back to china or india and start valuing the multiculture ethnics and minorities here and not marginalise them. when can we see that… dont say wait till 2020. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. had been reading your blog for a very long time but this is the 1st time i tagged cause i just got myself a blog few days back! yay!
    glad that you shared your invaluable travelling experience at the various countries ( esp. the food ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) including this one on the maori. the other posts on daily stuffs which are cool n funny were great too. Keep on going!

  20. You might not be aware of this but calling an Indian American, “Red Indian” is like calling a Chinese, “Chink” or Japanese, “Jap”. These are words with racial overtones.

  21. lol.. im hakka wor.. i don dance like tat leh.. n i don usually use ngai tee oso.. i use “si foh lorr”.. haha.. no worries.. no bad feelings.. keep it up~~

  22. kenny, please tell your hakka jokes somewhere else like to the little children in the kindy. it doesn’t bring out even a chuckle here.

  23. Kia Ora Kenny, just want to let you know that the Haka is a Maori warrior dance.
    Maybe you would like to rephrase the following:
    Without a doubt, the best part of the cultural performance is the traditional Maori Haka Dance.
    Without a doubt, the best part of the cultural performance is the Maori warrior dance called Haka.
    And BTW, the rubbing nose gesture is called Hongi. It’s similar to shaking hands with others. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I can see that you had a great time in NZ. Did you go the South Island?

  24. orang asli to peninsular msia lar.. where got malays. and yeah titoki’s right… it never bores me to watch the Haka. Especially when the ABs perform it. Fijians haf their own haka too, but i like the maori version better. damn why u make fun of hakka? damn rude sia
    p/s the rock is samoan… not maori

  25. Strange, i thought Ah Beng is a Hokkien word. But why used (generalisingly) on Hakka?
    And ya, I’m a Hakka. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. glad you liked it there. just one comment to one of you! American Indians are native but Maaori are not? how do you figure this?due to some fixed story that invading whites colonialists totally misinterptreted(as usual)about a supposed boat ride over to new zealand sum few hundred years back? bro, we are all coming from somewhere! If you think that us maori people who choose to have tv’s and stereos, drive cars and shop at supermarkets are any less native than sarawak people you need a re-education. my interpretation of native is group of people who were the first settlers of an uninhabited area. just like the native americans or as you put it american idians, which is as out-dated as elvis we ARE native to New Zealand just as the aboriginees are to auzzie and the ainu in Japan.
    and Hongi isnt like shaking hands at all. its an exchange of breath and energy which is far more evolved and sincere than a kick shake of my hand.

  27. dayuuuumn.. those haka dancers must hv swollen, red thighs after every showwww!!
    ooh but gotta love their tribal tattoos! =D

  28. mimu, hush. Been seeing u going around correcting words that aint supposed to be corrected.
    Anyways, haka has been NZ pride so everyone is proud of it. Yeah, their food is err… >.>

  29. hi! I’m studying in the University of Auckland right now and I can’t believe u were so near here! Haha, cool stuff. Our ‘All Blacks’ Rugby team is New Zealand’s Pride and Joy.
    And yes, everyone calls Rotorua ‘smelly town’. Did you manage to see the geysers and soak in their hot pools as well? Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. haha… reminds me so much of the New Zealand band performed in Military Tattoo in Scotland though… We just can’t help laughing at it while we didnt know that was the HAKA dance… =P

  31. oh no oh no! did you manage to try the mid air swing in rotorua? the one where you take the cable car up the mountain and get on this huge swing high up in the air? did u also manage to try the reverse bungee in auckland city itself? meh.. but i dont suggest visiting south auckland at night if you plan on getting home without a side trip to the hospital or the morgue. anyway yea those maori guys you saw are skinny as. reckon the all blacks do it way better. by the way, the haka dance is a dance of challenge and threat, you are meant to be frightened into submission or at least to drain your spirit and courage away before the fight. its a pity ur visit to NZ was so short, there are so many places u can visit, such as murewai beach or snow park, or ruapehu, or down south to palmerston north , or even lower city hutt wellington..o well

  32. hey, that was preety amazing, but i seen better , cause i cme frm NZ , and yeah i already knew all dat stuff. well i hope you had enjoyed your expereince in the village. well im 13 years old and go to high skool at sidgate high and our harmany day is coming up and wanted to let you know. yeah. well holla bck, l8erz. also to let you know i use to live there the man at the front was my uncle

  33. the peeps that said hakka girls het F***, are racil you are just jealous cause you cant dance, i do the hakka and im a girl so your tellin me to get F*** you JUST JEALOUS, only cause you cant do it
    hakka girls and boys rox
    NZ 4 LYF

  34. God, you’re like Xia Xue and Celeste Chen. You just love spending all your pathetic little time mocking other people, using your extremely vast range of impressive vocabulary like f***.
    Calling people ah bengs.
    I don’t believe in labels.
    But if I did, I think you would be the definition of ah beng. You can tell that from your name.
    Hah, you’re such a joke.

  35. I think Maoris and Iban are the same people. Their language and culture are lots in common. I wonder the native Americans are lots in common too,to the Iban. I discovered that the native Americans lived in longhouses. Please verify. Thank you.

  36. hi kenny, i stumbled this entry – ur trip to NZ.. i am an original iban from sarawak. and yes, i do agree with u that the maori cultures are quite similar to us (the ibans).. accept for the dance tho. the ibans dance is “softer”. not as aggresive as theirs (the maori).. but u can notice the similarity in their tattoo designs – to the ibans. im planning to get a maori design tattoo just before i return home to the land of hornbill.. after been here for almost a year (holidaying with my kiwi bf), my conclusion about NZ is, a great place for retirement – that is when ur over and done with the crazy, hustle-bustle city life.. KL, is definitely A LOT busier, bigger, massively developed compared to Auckland.. sorry hun, just an honest opinion from me hehe..

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