Black Ferns haka launched at All Blacks Experience attraction

By Te Ao - Māori News

A powerful Black Ferns haka has been launched as a key new attraction at the All Blacks Experience at SkyCity, Auckland.

The haka called Ko Ūhia Mai (Let it be known) was written by respected Māori rugby leader Whetū Tipiwai. He also wrote the Māori All Blacks' haka, Timatanga.

Ko Ūhia Mai speaks of wahine Māori uniting for strength, regardless of where they come from, to overcome the challenges in front of them.

The haka, led by Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate and Renee Wicklife, was filmed in one shot and one take at Auckland’s Eden Park on August 17, 2019, before a match against the Wallaroos Australian women’s national team.

The All Blacks Experience is a New Zealand Rugby and Ngāi Tahu Tourism joint venture. All Blacks Experience chair Dame Julie Christie officially launched the haka on Wednesday as a new feature of the attraction, noting the importance of its addition for women in sport.

“The Black Ferns haka is a long-awaited and vital addition to the Experience. It’s important that young women see themselves reflected in what we offer at the All Blacks Experience. We’re not only showcasing the journey to become an All Black but also to become a Black Fern,” Christie says.

EQMade design principal Ed Buraksays it was vital that the footage captured a genuine challenge against an opposition team.

“Filming multiple takes was absolutely out of the question. Our national teams do not ‘perform’ the haka and we needed to capture the passion, pre-game energy and authenticity,” Burak says.

A specialist team from Augusto Agency spent three months preparing the footage for the public to view at the All Blacks Experience. Augusto head of production and post, Simone Goulding, says the end result is one that will be as impressive for manuhiri (visitors) at the All Blacks Experience as it was on the field.

“The Black Ferns understood immediately how powerful the experience could be. While their haka gave everything to the opposition, it also ensured All Blacks Experience visitors will experience the same incredible energy and passion. You can feel the Black Ferns captain burn a hole in the lens with her intensity. It's awesome!”

All Blacks Experience General Manager Phil McGowan is excited by the new addition to the facility too.

“Feeling the fierce emotion of the Black Ferns on our 14-metre wide screen is quite something. Manuhiri will not be disappointed. The All Blacks haka has been a visitor highlight since we opened in December last year, and now our visitors will have the option to request their choice of haka on our guided tours, making their experience all the more powerful.”

The All Blacks Experience is a fully guided, state-of-the-art, interactive showcase of the All Blacks, Black Ferns, and all our national rugby teams in black. The full sensory and interactive experience celebrates New Zealand’s rugby heritage, achievements and culture. It is the only place in the world where you will discover exactly what it takes to make, shape and be an All Black or Black Fern.

The Black Ferns haka will be showcased on the midday and 2pm tours from Thursday 13th to Monday 17th May. It will also feature regularly as part of the Experience’s public programme and will be available on request.