Our mates at Blogger At Large inform us that the traditional Ka Mate haka was composed around 1820 and is common to many parts of New Zealand culture, performed on numerous occasions, by men, women, sports teams, the armed forces and Kiwis in pubs after the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders.
Ka Mate is also an intrinsic part of All Blacks rugby culture, although not exclusive to it. So in 2005, in consultation with the All Blacks, another haka was composed by Derek Llardell of the Ngati Porou tribe. The haka was unveiled on this occasion for a special test against South Africa’s Springboks at Carisbrook, Dunedin.
It incorporates elements of greater Polynesian culture, to represent the changing nature of the All Black team, which these days includes several Pacific Islanders, as well as Maoris, in addition to players of European descent.
Kapa O Pango roughly translates to “All Blacks”, and apparently it is based on another, older haka. The All Blacks had been practising the haka for 12 months before its unveiling, and nzallblacks.net calls it “one of New Zealand rugby’s best-kept secrets”.
It’s stirring stuff, led here by All Black legend Tana Umaga, complete with climactic throat-slitting gesture, and faced down by Bok legends such as John Smit, Os du Randt and Jaque Fourie. The match, played on August 29, 2005, proved to be the deciding match of the 2005 Tri-Nations series.
The All Blacks won 31-27, defeating the reigning Tri-Nations champion Boks. Watching it is wall-to-wall goosies! What an honour that this haka was debuted against the Springboks – a sign of the respect in which the Boks are held by what is, sincerely speaking, the world’s greatest rugby team.
Here’s a translation from nzallblacks.net
Let me become one with the land
This is our land that rumbles
And it’s my time! It’s my moment!
This defines us as the All Blacks
It’s my time! It’s my moment!
Our supremacy will triumph
And will be placed on high