Te Matatini, the national kapa haka festival in New Zealand, is gifting a special waiata (song) titled “Kia Kino Nei Hoki” to New Zealand Rugby, symbolising the continuation of the strong bond between haka and rugby. This waiata, which celebrates haka, music, and language, will be performed live in te reo Māori (Māori language), English, and French for the first time at the Bledisloe Cup clash between the All Blacks and Australia.
The performance, featuring renowned Māori music artists and haka experts Rob Ruha and Ria Hall, along with the three-time and current Te Matatini champions Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau a Apanui, will take place at the sold-out Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Te Matatini chairperson Sir Selwyn Parata expressed that this waiata aims to normalize the use of te reo Māori and bring people together, evoking strength, awe, and unity. The power of waiata lies in its ability to transcend barriers and languages, connecting people on a deeper level.
Rob Ruha emphasized the similarities between competitive sport and competitive kapa haka, drawing a connection between the rugby field and the haka stage. The waiata “Kia Kino Nei Hoki” is charged with excitement and adrenaline, mirroring the feelings of athletes just before a game. It captures the tension, pressure, game plan, and adrenaline that athletes experience in those moments.
The official release of the waiata is set to coincide with Māori music month on August 11th, celebrating the richness of Māori music and culture. Through this collaboration between Te Matatini and New Zealand Rugby, the powerful spirit of waiata and haka will continue to resonate with the nation and fans worldwide, uniting people in support of the All Blacks and celebrating the enduring connection between haka and rugby.