New Zealand honours their dead in their own, awe-inspiring way

As an English rugby fan, I’ve always had goosebumps when the All Blacks play here, and they’ve performed the haka.

There is something primal and clean about the honourable challenge to a worthy foe represented by the haka, and the fact that is is Maori tradition that has been adopted by the mainstream – and mainly white – culture warms the heart of this passionate anti-racist.

After the events of Friday when a racist prick attacked peaceful Muslims at prayer in their mosque, the last thing I expected was to see spontaneous hakas being performed on the streets by schoolkids, biker gangs and lone men.  I shouldn’t have been so shocked though – after all the haka is not just a battlefield challenge – they are performed at weddings and funerals too, as a way to pay respect to the dead.

Seeing these has reduced me to tears: the way that the Kiwis have come together, and used the traditions of one minority to offer empathy and support to another minority is stunningly beautiful.  I wish these hakas had not been necessary, but I salute the noble souls that are performing them.

Here’s a biker gang peforming one.

Here’s a bunch of schoolkids, paying respect to some of their classmates amongst the dead.

Here’s some more schoolkids, spontaneously bursting into a haka.

Here’s one man on his own who just had to pay respect and honour the dead – regardless of the time of night or who was watching.

A boys school close to the site of the attack walked down the road to perform a haka.

If you hear about any others, please let me know so I can include them here.  I’m on Twitter as Brumguvnor.

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