Maori tribe asks New Zealand anti-vaxxers not to use ‘haka’ dance
Sydney, Australia, Nov 15 (EFE).- A Maori tribe asked anti-vaccine protesters Monday to stop using one of New Zealand’s best-known “haka” battle challenges alluding to an emblematic traditional dance of challenge created in the 19th century.
This Maori dance called “Ka Mate,” was composed by warrior leader Te Rauparah, who belonged to the Ngati Toa tribe, rooted in the southern part of the New Zealand North Island.
“As descendants of Te Rauparaha, we insist that protesters stop using our taonga (heritage) immediately,” Dr. Taku Parai of Pou Tikanga said in a statement quoted by Radio New Zealand.
“We do not want our Tupunas (ancestors) or our iwi (tribe) to associate with their messages,” said the Maori representative in reference to vaccine skeptics, which he said his tribe does not support.
This famous haka has been used in recent New Zealand anti-vaccine protests. Reports suggest Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki wants to teach it to protesters for future demonstrations.
Parai said his tribe “has been proactive” in Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, since many of his ancestors died as a result of the pandemics that afflicted them since the British colonization.
“Our message to the protesters who want to use Ka Mate is to use a different haka. We do not support the use of Ka Mate for this purpose,” added the representative of the Maori tribe, New Zealand natives whose hakas have gained fame worldwide for the representations made by their rugby union team.
New Zealand authorities have fully vaccinated more than 80 percent of the population, but misinformation prevails especially among the Maori, where only 50 percent of the target population is fully vaccinated.
New Zealand, a country that hopes to reopen after vaccinating 90 percent of the target population, is facing a Covid-19 delta variant outbreak since August in Auckland, the most populous city in the country.
The oceanic country, which reported 173 new Monday cases of Covid-19, has registered more than 8,860 confirmed and probable infections, including 34 deaths and more than 3,600 active cases. EFE