Haka aims to lift spirits and bring country together through pandemic

By Regan Paranihi

Vodafone Aotearoa has partnered with Te Wehi Haka to encourage the nation to stay united through this pandemic with their online #HakaExperienceChallenge.  The national telecommunications provider is using the medium of haka to convey a message of resilience and aroha during this unprecedented time, and they are also challenging other organisations to help spread the message.

'Kia Kotahi Tātou' was composed by the director of Te Wehi Haka, Tapeta Wehi, to reassure the nation that we are all in this together.

"When this pandemic hit, we all felt the strain of it. Therefore, I thought to compose a haka to lift the spirits of the nation and bring us all together," says Wehi.

The narrative of the haka talks about what many people across the world will be going through at this time.

"It's about recognising the space and time that we are in as a nation and as a species, and standing up and fighting against this pandemic," says Vodafone’s Head of Māori Development, Kirstin Te Wao (Te Arawa, Tainui, Ngāti Whātua-Ōrakei).

Wehi says the haka has been used many times as a platform where Māoridom express concerns, grief and key messages.

"We Māori know that with haka you are able to express many topics, your own challenges to the nation, to the government and to the world. Therefore, whether it's about politics, the environment or current affairs, this is not something new to us."

Te Wao says, "Haka is an engaging and innovative way to send a message of unity and strength, and what I've seen this haka do for our whānau here at Vodafone is really breakdown barriers of cultural understanding." 

Wehi also encourages the nation to take part in the challenge.

"Send this haka out to the nation so they can hear the spirit of this haka."

This haka experience has been a life-changing experience for some of the Vodafone employees and they hope to continue to indulge in the Māori culture.