Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

You are here:

Navigate in: Māori | English

Curriculum level 8

Te haka a Tānerore

The quivering of the air on a hot day

Apirana Turapa Ngata leading the haka at the centennial celebrations at Waitangi, 1940. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. Reference: MNZ-2746-1/2-F.

Links to social studies

Strand: Identity, Culture and Organisation.

  • Level 8 social studies achievement objective: Understand how ideologies shape society and that individuals and groups respond differently to these beliefs.

Key concepts

Spirituality – the significance of atua (gods).

Focus of learning

In this unit, students explore the ideology of Māori culture as it relates to spirituality, with waiata and haka as the vehicles. Although written in the past, they retain their relevance over time, albeit with some alterations that reflect the changing times, events, and people.

Māori soldiers took the spirituality of their (sub)tribe into war with them. Ceremonies performed prior to ancient battles made the warriors tapu (sacred) and placed them under the protection of the god of war, Tūmatauenga. On return from battle, the tapu was lifted, and the warriors were made noa (ordinary). The same happened for the 28th (Māori) Battalion on leaving our shores for war and on their return.

As well as Tūmatauenga, other deities such as Kahukura and Uenuku (both associated with the rainbow) were called upon in war. Those who were left behind called upon the gods to look after their loved ones who were fighting so far away.

In this unit, students are challenged to think critically about Māori spirituality and how it influenced people’s responses in time of war. They explore the perspectives and values of a range of individuals and groups through waiata and haka. They also explore the phenomenon of guardianship, through the story of Haane and his guardian, Te Makawe.


Describing an ideology and explaining how and why ideologies shape society.

Learning outcomes

Students could:

  • Explain the importance of the oral transfer of information and knowledge through waiata/haka in order to pass on and retain Māori history and culture.
  • Interpret ancient haka lyrics and performance and modern haka composition and performance. (View clip 11, The evolution of haka from traditional to contemporary,[video link Te whanaketanga o te haka mai i tērā o neherā ki tō nāianei] where Te Keepa Stirling explains how soldiers used haka in battle and how it is performed today.)
  • Explore the variety of haka styles and the difference between each.
  • Interpret and understand the language and history of, and the similarities and differences between: an ancient peruperu, for example, Ka Eke i te Wiwī (view Rendition of the haka Ka Eke i te Wiwī,
  • Identify waiata/haka, both ancient and modern, that refer to the gods and explore the purpose of that reference. (View How should haka be performed?, where Te Keepa Stirling shares his ideas about haka and how students can use the spirituality of their ancestors to empower their performance.)
  • Identify the links between gods/ancestors and war, such as placing the protection of Tūmatauenga, the god of war, on the 28th (Māori) Battalion before leaving our shores, as in the haka Ka Eke i te Wiwī . (View How should haka be performed?)
  • Identify atua/deities and their relationship to war/battle in both ancient and modern times.
  • Identify the attributes/strengths of the gods that may have been called upon during the Second World War era through waiata/haka.  


Analysing how individuals and groups respond differently to ideological beliefs as a result of their own perspectives, values and viewpoints.

Learning outcomes

Students could:

  • Understand how Māori trace their genealogy back to the gods.
  • Explain the importance to Māori of guardians (for example, in war and other areas if appropriate).
  • Explain the relevance of kaitiaki (guardians), as in Haane’s story with Te Makawe, around bravery, survival, and success during the Second World War. (View Battle at Takrouna, where Haane’s son explains what happened at Takrouna.)


Evaluating the significance to society of these different responses.

Learning outcomes

Students could:

  • Explain how and why customs have evolved to suit changing times and/or a range of events and the purpose of the evolution, as in the use of Ka Eke i te Wiwī over time. (View Adapting tikanga, where Taipari Munro explains how/why Māori adapted their traditional practices due to Christianity.)