If you haven't seen the video of the Haka being performed for the bride and groom who ultimately joined in, you've probably been living under a rock! I've seen the Haka performed many times and while it's always emotional, I've never been more moved than I was while watching it performed for New Zealand couple Aaliyah and Ben Armstrong. Ben's best man planned the Maori wedding haka because he knew how important it was to recognize their Polynesian heritage.
For those unfamiliar with what a haka is, it is described as an intimidation tactic, an ancient war dance of the Maori people. Each haka has its own set of chanted lyrics, synchronized stomping and slapping of the body and facial expressions – like flashing one’s tongue or teeth and going bug-eyed – to intimidate on the battlefield.
The couple said, “For Polynesians and Maori’s, a traditional haka is usually performed in their traditional language and has different aspects to it, depending on where they are from,” Aaliyah and Ben tell The Knot. “We both have some Maori Ancestry in our families.”
Present-day haka, pulled from the traditions of the Polynesian people, have now been transformed into shows of cultural pride, honor, and unity.
At the reception Ben’s Best Man kicked off the call and response chant after his speech, and though it was planned in advance the couple said it, “was somewhat of a surprise to who had joined in on the haka.” Groomsmen, bridesmaids, wedding guests and even the guests of honor themselves – the bride and groom – participated in the intense display.
Check out the video but make sure to grab some tissues!