New Zealand crowd sets world record for largest haka
The New Zealand town of Rotorua has pulled the world’s biggest ever crowd with their attempt on the Guinness World Record for ‘the largest haka’.
With 7,700 as the official count, the energetic haka performers made their presence known on Rotorua’s village green as the ‘Ka Mate, Ka Mate’ chant they’ve made world famous roared out across the city.
The huge crowd smashed the world record set in France in 2014 where 4,028 participants gathered at an event organised by a car manufacturer.
A large part of New Zealand’s Maori culture, the haka was originally performed as a traditional war cry, war dance, or challenge. Known to be a “posture dance”, it is usually enacted in groups, their feet stamping rhythmically to loud shouts and vigorous movements. These days it is more likely to be performed before All Blacks’ games, a national rugby team, and on significant solemn occasions.
Led by Rotorua Boys’ High School students and joined by visiting fans and some of New Zealand’s leading kapa haka champions, the powerful haka left locals and visitors in awe when confronted with the sheer size and volume of the war dance.
This year, the number of haka participants that performed as part of the Rugby 2017 Festival represented more than 10% of Rotorua’s entire population.
New Zealand’s Māori culture centre, Rotorua is also the country’s oldest tourism destination. The city (pop: 65,000) sits on an active geothermal landscape of geysers, hot spots and mud pools amid 18 trout-filled lakes.