Rugby Song:

All Black Haka

Ka mate, Ka Mate
(It is death, It is death)
Ka ora, Ka ora
(It is life, It is life)
Ka mate, Ka mate
(It is death, It is death)
Ka ora, Ka ora
(It is life, It is life)
Tenei Te Tangata Puhuruhuru
(This is the hairy man)
Nana i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra
(who caused the sun to shine again for me)
Upane, Upane
(Up the ladder, Up the ladder)
Upane, Kaupane
(Up to the top)
Whiti te ra
(the sun shines)

Translation The haka is a war dance. The words are chanted loudly (shouted) in a menacing way accompanied by arm actions and foot stamping. A haka was traditionally performed before charging into battle. The Maori pronunciation is basically one vowel per syllable, with the vowels having the European rather than English sound. The `wh' is aspirated almost like an `f' (f is good enough for most people).

As for what it all means, about 140 years ago, a particularly notorious warlike chief named Te Rauparaha of the Ngati Toa tribe (based just North of present day Wellington), was being chased by his enemies. He hid in a kumara pit (the local sweet potato, only much better) and waited in the dark for his pursuers to find him. He heard sounds above and thought he was done for when the top of the pit was opened up and sunshine flooded in. He was blinded and struggled to see those about to slay him, when his sight cleared and he instead saw the hairy legs of the local chief (reputed to have been exceptionally hirsute) who had hid him. Te Rauparaha is said to have jumped from the pit and performed this haka on the spot, so happy was he to have escaped. Undoubtedly, he also had in his mind to do a little pursuing of his own --- Te Rauparaha being that way inclined was he.