What are the Haka lyrics, why do New Zealand perform it? – The Sun


NEW ZEALAND are back on the big stage tonight as they face Italy in their next Rugby World Cup 2023 pool encounter.

And they’re sure to perform the Haka in front of 59,186 fans at OL Stadium in Lyon.


The Haka involves large amounts of shouting, as well as the use of the arms and legs to intimidate the opponentCredit: Getty Images

What are the lyrics to the Haka and is it always the same song?

New Zealand traditionally always sang a song called Ka Mate, which is a war cry written in 1820 by a Maori chief Te Rauparaha.

It was first performed by the All Blacks in 1888, but only at away matches until 1986.

The Ka Mate Haka is also performed during high profile funerals or to greet foreign dignitaries.

But in 2005, they came up with a newer version called Kapa O Pango, which is exclusive to the All Blacks rugby team and only performed during certain matches.

Nowadays, whenever New Zealand take to the field, nobody knows which version of the Haka they will sing.

Against South Africa, Read and Perenara led the team in performing Kapa O Pango.

Ka Mate Maori Lyrics

Kikiki! Kakaka!
Kauana kei waniwania taku tara
kei tarawahia, kei te rua i te kerokero!
He pounga rahui te uira
ka rarapa ketekete kau ana
To peru kairiri mau au e koro e!
Hi! Ha! – Ka wehi au ka matakana,
ko wai te tangata kia rere ure tirohanga
ngā rua rerarera
ngā rua kuri kakanui i raro! Aha ha!

Ka mate, ka mate! ka ora! ka ora!
Ka mate! ka mate! ka ora! ka ora!
Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru
Nāna nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā
Ā, upane! ka upane!
Ā, upane, ka upane, whiti te ra!

Ka Mate English lyrics

Let your valor rise! Let your valor rage!
We’ll ward off these haunting hands
while protecting our wives and children!
For thee, I defy
the lightning bolts of hell
while my enemies stand there in confusion!
O God – to think I would tremble
to a pack of wolves seeing fear, or running away,
because they would surely fall in the pit of shame
as food for the hounds who chow down in delight! Oh, what in the name…?

‘Tis death! ’tis death! (or: I may die) ’Tis life! ‘tis life! (or: I may live)
’Tis death! ‘tis death! ’Tis life! ‘tis life!
This is the hairy man
Who summons the sun and makes it shine
A step upward, another step upward!
A step upward, another… the Sun shines!

Kapa O Pango Maori lyrics

Kapa o pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!

Hi aue, hi!
Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!

Au, au, aue ha!

Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!

Au, au, aue ha!

I ahaha!

Ka tu te ihiihi

Ka tu te wanawana

Ki runga ki te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei, hi!

Ponga ra!

Kapa o Pango, aue hi!

Ponga ra!

Kapa o Pango, aue hi!

Kapa O Pango English lyrics

Let me go back to my first gasp of breath

It is New Zealand that thunders now

And it is my time!
It is my moment!

The passion ignites!
This defines us as the All Blacks

And it is my time!
It is my moment!

The anticipation explodes!

Feel the power

Our dominance rises

Our supremacy emerges
To be placed on high

Silver Fern!

All Blacks!

Silver Fern!

All Blacks!

Who leads the Haka?

There are no set rules as to who should lead the Haka.

Often it is led by the captain, as it was when Richie McCaw skippered the team, while sometimes it can be led by players with Maori ancestry, who are able to speak the language and give the best performance.

In recent matches, the Haka has typically been led by scrum-half TJ Perenara, but against the Springboks New Zealand changed things up with Perenara and captain Kieran Read jointly leading it.

And Perenara said he was proud of Read’s new leadership role.

He commented: “Kieran has been doing a lot of work on his role as a kaea (leader) and his pronunciation of Maori words.

“The work he’s been putting in I think has been awesome.

“What I’ve been saying to him is he is the leader of our group and when he steps up and leads Haka.

“I think it gives our team mana [prestige], and even for Māori back home to see non-Maori go through the processes to learn why he’s leading Haka, pronouncing the words the right way, and doing it the way he’s performed it, that’s special to me, not even as a rugby player or a team-mate, but as a Maori.”

 Normally covered in tattoos, the Maori people base their daily habits around the Haka and its meaning


Normally covered in tattoos, the Maori people base their daily habits around the Haka and its meaningCredit: Getty Images

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