contact us mobileMail phoneIcon +34 977 38 90 00
Start arrow-right blog
What is and what does the New Zealand All Blacks Haka mean?
arrow Back
What is and what does the New Zealand All Blacks Haka mean?

The Rugby World Cup 2023 is hotter than ever. From September 8th to October 28th, a total of 20 nations are competing to become the Rugby World Champions.

The tournament features the teams that participate in the prestigious Six Nations tournament: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, and France. Additionally, it includes the teams that compete in the Rugby Championship: Argentina, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. It's worth noting that the latter are the teams with the most World Cups in their trophy cabinets, with a total of 3.

The famous Haka, performed by the New Zealand and Samoa national teams, has become one of the most viral images of the World Cup. It's a challenging and intimidating dance for the opponents. But do you know what the Haka is and what it truly means?

The origins of the Haka

Traditionally, the Haka was a Maori war dance that aimed to intimidate the enemy and prepare them emotionally for battle, a ferocious display of pride, strength and unity of the tribe. Between their actions there are energetic stomps against the ground, the realization of grotesque grimaces with the tongue and rhythmic slaps on the body, all accompanied by a song that sounds as primitive as forceful.



Currently, in New Zealand, Haka is used in all kinds of celebrations, even for mourning, because it has become a folkloric exaltation of the very versatile aboriginal pride. However, it is in the field of rugby where it acquires its greatest global impact.


And it's not something new, the first time it was performed on the playing field was on October 3rd 1888 when the New Zealand native team played against Surrey, on a tour of the colony by the home countries of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).


Today, the All Blacks enjoy a great reputation in the country, more after having confirmed the title in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which also took place in the United Kingdom. But it was at the 2011 World Cup that the Haka was performed, which probably had the most media impact. They were under the spotlights of the whole world, they were the favorites and they won.


But what does what they sing in the Haka mean?

If at this point of the post you are too curious to know what the singing means, you have the translation as follows.



Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!

Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru

Nana i tiki mai

Whakawhiti te ra

A upane! ka upane!

A upane kaupane whiti te ra!




I die! I die! I live! I live!

I die! I die! I live ¡ I live!

This is the hairy man (for the Maoris hairy is equivalent to brave)

That brought the sun, and made it shine again

One step up!

Another step up!

One step up!

Another step up!

The sun shines

Kapa o Pango, the All Blacks' own Haka

In August 2005, before the Tri Nations Test match against South Africa at Carisbrook, the All Blacks performed for the first time Kapa O Pango, a new haka for and about the All Blacks.

Kapa O Pango was written for the team by Derek Lardelli, an expert in Maori culture and customs. Its words and actions celebrate the land of New Zealand, the silver fern and its warriors in black. The name might be translated simply as 'team in black'. Rather than replace the traditional haka, Ka Mate, Kapa O Pango sits alongside it as a new addition to the All Blacks' tradition.



Taringa whakarongo!

Kia rite! Kia rite! Kia mau!


Kia whakawhenua au i ahau!

Hi, aue! Hi!

Ko Aotearoa, e ngunguru nei!

Hi, au! Au! Aue, ha! Hi!

Ko kapa o pango, e ngunguru nei!

Hi, au! Au! Aue, ha! Hi!

I ahaha!

Ka tu te ihi-ihi

Ka tu te wanawana

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

Ponga ra!

Kapa o pango! Aue, hi!

Ponga ra!

Kapa o pango! Aue, hi!




Let me go back to my first gasp of breath

Let my life force return to the earth

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!


Other articles that might interest you: 
5 reasons why you should play rugby
The respect and other values of rugby that you probably didn´t know
Interview with Patricia García, one of the best rugby players in the world



Image: All Blacks Official Facebook