"Ka Mate" is a MÄori haka composed by
Te Rauparaha, war leader of the
NgÄti Toa tribe of the North Island of New
The creation and composition of Ka Mate
Te Rauparaha composed Ka Mate as a celebration of life over death
after his lucky escape from pursuing Ngati Maniapoto
enemies. He had hidden from them in a
food-storage pit, and climbed back into the light to be met by a
chief friendly to him - Te Whareangi (the "hairy man").
The haka as composed by Te Rauparaha begins with a chant:
- Kikiki kakaka kauana!
- Kei waniwania taku tara
- Kei tarawahia, kei te rua i te kerokero!
- He pounga rahui te uira ka rarapa;
- Ketekete kau ana to peru kairiri
- Mau au e koro e â Hi! Ha!
- Ka wehi au ka matakana,
- Ko wai te tangata kia rere ure?
- Tirohanga ngÄ rua rerarera
- NgÄ rua kuri kakanui i raro! Aha ha!
Then follows the main body of the haka:
|Ka mate, ka mate! ka ora! ka ora!Ka mate! ka mate! ka ora! ka
TÄnei te tangata pÅ«huruhuru
NÄna nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te rÄ
Ä, upane! ka upane!
Ä, upane, ka upane, whiti te ra!
|âTis death! âtis death! (or: I may die) âTis life!
âtis life! (or: I may live)âTis death! âtis death! âTis
life! âtis life!
This the hairy man that stands here...
â¦who brought the sun and caused it to shine
A step upward, another step upward!
A step upward, another... the Sun shines!
Ka Mate and rugby
Ka Mate is the most widely known haka in New Zealand and elsewhere
because it has traditionally been performed by the All Blacks
, New Zealand's international rugby union team
immediately prior to test (international) matches. Since 2005 the
All Blacks have occasionally performed another haka, "Kapa o Pango
Ownership of Ka Mate
Between 1998 and 2006, Ngati Toa
to trademark Ka Mate
to prevent its use by commercial
organisations without their permission
- but in 2006 the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand turned their claim down on the grounds that Ka Mate had achieved wide recognition in New Zealand and abroad as representing New Zealand as a whole and not a particular trader.
In 2009, as a part of a wider settlement of grievences, the
New Zealand government
- "...record the authorship and significance of the haka Ka
Mate to NgÄti Toa and ... work with NgÄti Toa to address their
concerns with the haka... [but] does not expect that
redress will result in royalties for the use of Ka Mate or provide
NgÄti Toa with a veto on the performance of Ka Mate...".
- www.teara.govt.nz: M. PÅmare, 'NgÄti Toarangatira',
Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated
- NgÄti Toa Rangatira Letter of Agreement
- M. PÅmare, 'NgÄti Toarangatira - Chant composed by Te
Rauparaha', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,
updated 26-Sep-2006,