“We perform haka as an expression of pride,” says Karl Johnstone. Kapa haka, a traditional Māori posture dance, “was about not only intimidating the opponents, but it was about how do we actually prevent degenerating into a battle?” he says. “Haka is all about the expression of your inner energy. The shaking of the hands,” says Johnstone, “that’s an expression of our life force … it’s showing that there’s an energy within you.”
In Māori, kapa means a row, line, or a company of people, and haka means dance. From NPR: New Zealand’s Tuku Iho Living Legacy performers demonstrate this traditional Māori art form at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
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