Auckland War Memorial Museum

Remember the intimidating ritual dance of the All Blacks before a rugby game? Experience the artistic balance of form and power first hand at a Kapa Haka performance.

Kapa Haka, loosely translated into English, means something like "war dance in a row". The dances evolved before the arrival of the Europeans and frequently incorporate the use of weapons and accessories. One of the accessories, absorbed by popular Western dance culture, are the twirling poi. Poi, and the weapons, are spun around the dancers in carefully choreographed patterns of timing, footwork and stance.

You can expect to find singing and colourful clothes displaying Maori designs to be combined with the dancing. Sometimes there will be musical accompaniment to the vocal harmonies such as guitars, conch shells and sounds pounded out with body percussion.

Although the most regular Maori dance performances are staged at the Auckland Museum, the lake region of Rotorua, 120 miles to the South, is a good place to witness this spectacle in a more authentic setting.

Auckland Travel Guide

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