Hana stood up in New Zealand's Parliament on January 4th 2024 to give what was to be her maiden speech, but something very different and surprising came out of her mouth and she was joined by others in the room.
The video went viral and shows Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke in Parliament as a new member “performing” in her Indigenous language and style from Aotearoa (New Zealand) a haka’. (Link below in credits)
A haka’, to the Māori people of Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud), is a traditional way to excite warriors on a battlefield, but there are different styles for different occasions. An elder of the people, a rangatira has come forward to say, “The young 21 year-old was performing an angry war haka’ and it was very inappropriate for that setting at that time.”
The Māori Dictionary Te AKA translates rangatira to be a male or female chieftain, or chieftainess. But because there are many chiefs at this time, translation to best suit the speaker is leader of leaders in their te reo mother-tongue.
The dictionary continues to define rangatira as individuals who have, concern for the integrity and prosperity of the people, the land, the language and other cultural treasures (e.g. oratory and song poetry), and an aggressive and sustained response to outside forces that may threaten these.
He went on further to say that although the young woman is from Aotearoa, she does not live on the North Island with the people and she attends a private school in Australia where she presently lives.
Rangatira ended his thoughts on a solemn note by saying that most members of Parliament do not live in Aotearoa. That alone is a concern for many New Zealanders along with the fact the current Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, lives in Fiji.
To watch the video of Hana, one witnesses the power of the haka.’ It can be mesmerizing. Most are not used to hearing such unabashed emotion expressed so powerfully in voice, body, and spirit in anyone, let alone a woman in a politically controlled environment.
But it is the traditional way of the people of Aotearoa to sing (waiata) strong with heart. They keep their histories, their culture, and the wisdom of their people in their traditional songs, ceremonies and language.
The Māori do not have a word for ceremony. In an effort to be clear, we turn once more to the Māori Dictionary to translate English thoughts and words into a more concise understanding. Sacred ceremony would be puaroa, meaning sacred and whāinga translates to: pursuit, aim, goal, objective, purpose.
Indigenous people around the world have sadly lost much of their culture in-part due to faulty translations. Taking the time to be clear is a necessity.
We are reminded as humanbeings that those who create spectacles, although gain fast attention, are not always wise. The young do well to listen and learn from their elders now more than ever for it is a critical time in human history.
There is great accountability for every action taken and every word spoken. May we be mindful, respectful, and kind.
Lady Freedom Circle
Te Pāti Māori MP Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke performed a haka during her maiden speech in Parliament. Source: AP / Mark Mitchell
Pictured, Hana looks to be wearing a Black Watch Scottish Tartan which is an "open tartan," meaning anyone can wear it regardless of clan ties. It is known as a symbol of bravery.
Article New Zealand SBS News
Video Youtube link for Haka’ In Parliament
Author: Kristen Farquhar is a Holistic Health & Arts Practitioner, book illustrator and