25 October 2012

Maori Life with Uncle Boy

One night, my tour group stayed the night at a modern Maori meeting house out in Maketu where we ate a traditional Maori meal (which is almost exactly like an American Thanksgiving dinner) and afterwards did a welcome ceremony with their tribe, followed by a performance of traditional Poi and Haka dances.  Perhaps you have heard of the haka dance...  The New Zealand Rugby team, The All Blacks, made it famous by doing it before their games on the field to intimidate the opposing team.  It is one fierce dance and I gotta admit, a bit intimidating.  Here’s a link to what it looks like by The All Blacks: All Blacks Haka.  And here, by Maoris: Traditional Haka. Note that they look like they want to kill whomever they're doing the dance for - so yes, mission accomplished on wanting to intimidate.  The Poi dance is typically performed by women and is more for telling a story through performance and song.

So once the traditional dances were done, they split us up by gender and the women learned how to do two poi dances and the men a Haka dance.  Doing the poi dance is a lot like trying to stand on one leg while rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time.  You need rhythm and be able to sway your hips while twirling a little ball on a string in different directions and sing in Maori.  We ended up having a lot of fun with doing performances for the guys and they for us, because let's face it, when you just learned to do a funny dance with words you don't actually know the meaning of, you feel silly and awkward.    

Cheat sheet with the words to our Poi dance...
because who can memorize this stuff in 30 minutes?
My Stray travel group


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home