CULTUREOPINION

Jason Momoa’s Aquaman Haka

If you have not yet seen the viral video of Jason Momoa’s haka at the Aquaman premiere, you have not lived.

Jason Momoa, you might call him my personal hometown hero, recently attended the premiere of Aquaman – in which he plays a starring role. For those who didn’t know, Momoa was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and is P-R-O-U-D of his Hawaiian heritage. To celebrate the premiere of his movie, Jason Momoa led a traditional haka with some of his cast members.

 

 

What is a Haka?

To understand the historical concept of the Haka, it is important to understand the history and culture of native Polynesians as a whole. These seafaring people crossed vast distances of ocean and established a high level of civilization using methods which are still little understood even today. Much of this misunderstanding can be attributed to the lack of recorded historical evidence left behind by the region’s ancestors. Most of what has been left behind is in the form of oral history comprising of the story telling, song, and dance traditions of individual Polynesian cultures.

 

We can still see the importance of religion, social hierarchy, culture, language, and technology in the culture today. These all play roles in defining the social identities of each respective group. In each of these cultures, the use of war dance is defined by combat exercise posturing and movements performed in rhythm to shouting and fierce facial expressions performed in unison within a group. This serves the purpose of psychological motivation and ceremonial significance and can be done in the context of warriors preparing for a battle.

 

The Haka Today

Today, Hakas are traditionally performed in sports matches and celebrations. Although Momoa’s tops my list, some of my other favorites include the Haka performed at a New Zealand Maori wedding, which were included a beautiful poem:

 

What is right is always right!

Indeed!

What is right is always right!

Ah… yes!

Be true to yourself, my son!

My concerns have been raised about you, so pay attention!….

What is this problem you are carrying?

How long have you been carrying it for?

Have you got that? Right, let’s go on.

So son, although it may be difficult for you

and son, although it seems to be unyielding

no matter how long you reflect on it

the answer to the problem

is here inside you.

Indeed! Indeed! Indeed! Yes, indeed!

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