Protesters in New Zealand have been asked to not perform the “Ka Mate” as the tribe with ancestral ties to the famous haka say they do not support the protesters’ position.
The “Ka Mate”, popularised by New Zealand‘s All Blacks international Rugby team, is one of many different forms of the haka with historical ties to Maori tribes.
The recent performances at anti-vaccine and anti-restrictions protests have prompted the the Ngati Toa tribe, or “iwi” in Māori, to voice their disapproval in a statement.
It said: “We do not support their position and we do not want our tupuna or our iwi associated with their messages.
“Our message to protesters who wish to use Ka Mate is to use a different haka. We do not endorse the use of Ka Mate for this purpose.”
Originally composed around 1820 by Te Rauparaha, a war leader of the Ngāti Toa tribe, the Ka Mate combines a fearsome display of rhythmic foot-stamping and chanting, eye-rolling and sticking tongues out.
The recent protests come as New Zealand struggles to contain the recent spread of the delta variant.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to the highly infectious spread by shifting from a lockdown strategy to living with the virus and promoting vaccinations.
Ardern has set a target of vaccinating 90% of those eligible before ending lockdowns, but she has admitted to health authorities that the government is struggling to connect with young Maori influenced by vaccine misinformation.
When speaking on this issue, Ardern told state broadcaster TVNZ: “So it’s not just an access issue. We are trying to overcome much more than that and from the provider conversations I’ve had, that is one of the things we’re all struggling with,”
Around 81% of the population has received two does of the vaccine. In comparison, 76% of Māori have received one dose of a vaccine while 60% were fully vaccinated, as of 13 Novomber.
The current total number of infections sits at more than 8,500 following New Zealand authorities report of 173 new COVID-19 cases.
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