The Revivalism Of A Really Old Ritual Brings Catharsis To More Than 200 Soldiers...Speechless!

Monday, February 02, 2015 |
This spine-tingling video showing around 200 New Zealand soldiers performing the Maori haka at the funeral of three fallen comrades reveals how difficult it is to accept the devastating consequences of war! Being a soldier and have been trained to face the most demanding and cruel circumstances may sometimes be hard to express your feelings in public...However this Maori posture dance that involves the entire body in vigorous rhythmic movements, which may include swaying, slapping of the chest and thighs, stamping, and gestures of stylized violence can bring the catharsis needed. It is accompanied by a chant and, in some cases, by fierce facial expressions meant to intimidate, such as bulging eyes and the sticking out of the tongue. It is associated with the traditional battle preparations of male warriors.

Members of the 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment performed the ancestral war cry to show their 'collective grief' at the deaths of Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and 21-year-old Private Richard Harris.
According to the NZ Defence Force who released the video on YouTube; "Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only ethnic Maori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts. There is a haka for each of the Armed Services, as well as the Defence Force. Units with the NZ Army have their own haka, and this particular one is their Unit haka. It powerfully acknowledges the lives and feats of their fallen comrades as they come onto the Unit's parade ground. It's also an emotive farewell for they will leave via the waharoa (the carved entrance way) for the very last time".
Traditionally, haka was performed as part of the rituals of encounter when two parties met or when a visitor was welcomed into the community. Modern examples of occasions for haka include birthdays, weddings, funerals, and other celebratory events. It is also sometimes used as a symbol of tribal identity. Since 1972 the performance of haka has been one of the hallmarks of the widely popular Te Matatini performing arts festival, held biennially in New Zealand.

Credits: NZDefenceForce

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