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The derivation of the haka Ka Eke i te Wiwī

Taipari Munro talks about the origins of the ancient haka and its use as a karakia by warriors.


This haka comes from Hawaiki from the time of Kupe. A huge fight erupted among the iwi in Hawaiki. That is the reason that Kupe and his people came here to Aotearoa. Kupe stayed in Aotearoa for a little while and then went back to Hawaiki. When he got back to Hawaiki, those people were still fighting. The name of the battle was Te Moremore Tākīkī (cropped short, closely mown). The tradition in the house of learning is that this haka was performed by the warriors before they attacked a pā. Where the haka says, “Ka eke i te wīwī ka eke i te wāwā”, I am suggesting that the wīwī and the wāwā there refer to the defensive ditches and fences of the pā. The form of this haka, even though some say it is a haka, you can see that it is in the form of a sacred chant (karakia). It is a karakia to empower the warriors to enter the enemy fortress (pā).