Haka is a taonga that is steeped in whakapapa and has its origins in the creation of the universe, generating an abundance of meaning and value for Māori. On a national stage, haka is by far the most visible Indigenous ritual within the fabric of Aotearoa New Zealand’s national identity and continues to have a lasting legacy within the realm of sport. However, a major source of contention is the impact of globalisation on haka in sport, which has seen increasing issues of misuse, commodification, appropriation and tokenism.
This paper advocates for change regarding commodification of Māori rituals in sport, arguing that haka are important taonga, symbolising Māori practices of knowledge transmission. Indigenous research methodologies based on Kaupapa Māori theory were utilised in this study. The literature reviewed highlights ongoing commodification of “Ka Mate” (a haka composed by Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha) by transnational corporations in sport-related settings. A critique of promotional advertisements for sport events illustrates how recent legislation has had minimal impact.
The founding of the esteemed Atamira Dance Company (ADC) in 2000 signified a new wave of Māori dance, integrating cultural strengthening with innovation. For instance, the distinguished and founding members of the ADC, Louise Potiki Bryant and Jack Gray, seized the opportunity to collaborate with the inspirational scholar Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal. This paper provides a glimpse into their combined efforts towards developing the breadth and depth of haka through their contribution to the whare tapere recovery.