Last week, for some reason, was very busy for our Haka team. Even though, by now, I have seen hundreds of Haka sessions, I still find it fascinating to watch. There is just something special about those words and actions. We are fiercely protective of this amazing ritual and the way it is delivered. Our Maori group that first performs and then instructs stunned conference guests into following them, are full of fun and very entertaining, but still have strict guidelines on how and what can be taught about their amazing culture.
They strike the perfect balance between being faithful to the tradition and teaching tribal messages in a corporate setting. We hear horror stories of non-Maori teachers giving watered-down interpretations of the Haka and outright incorrect or disrespectful information.
Our Maori group is one of very few that has express permission from tribal elders in New Zealand to teach the Haka.
It is this authenticity that every participant can sense from the first seconds of our group blasting into their meeting room, through hearing the history of the Haka, and then physically learning the ritual.
The first group to get the shock of their lives was Harley Davidson. In a basement room in the perfect setting of Twickenham Rugby ground, our Haka leader ran in from behind, wearing only the traditional porcupine skirt and brandishing a weapon made from the spiritually important green stone.
After greeting the participants in Maori and uttering the appropriate incantations towards the group and their tribal leader (MD), he switched to English to explain what on Earth was going on!
The very next day we found ourselves across the city in Wembley Stadium. This was a much larger group of around 200. Just as the speaker mentioned the pre-set cue word, our team, some of them brandishing ceremonial spears, re-enacted the meeting of two tribes. This was symbolic of the conference objective, which was to unite two divisions.
The last session of the week was in the famous golf venue, The Belfry. Before the delegates knew what had hit them, our Haka masters gave an extended Haka performance on stage and soon had everyone up on their feet, learning how to do it themselves.
They all had fantastic fun and really got the connection between the traditional use of the Haka and the way it unites people. It is very important to us that there is a business relevance to this activity; there are so many analogies within the story of the Haka that it fits with almost any conference or teambuilding message.
A huge thank you to our Haka team this week for all their hard work, sore slapped thighs and coarse throats from very passionate shouting!
For more information about our team events, please contact us.
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