The Rugby League World Cup kicks off today! New Zealand Kiwis have their first match on Saturday 28th against Samoa (pass the popcorn). Not only are New Zealand players fantastic at rugby, but they are also fantastic at performing one of the most famous spectacles in sport, the haka. Find out the history of the haka and bring the games to your classroom with our selection of rugby themed language learning resources!

History of the Haka

Before we explain the history of the haka, it’s important that you witness the rugby players’ war dance for yourselves. Check it out below:

Impressive, right? The haka is an ancient dance of the New Zealand Māori that was traditionally used to prepare warriors for battle. The fierce nature of the haka united the warriors and prepared them mentally and physically for the impending conflict.

There are a variety of different hakas, for instance Te Iwi Kiwi and Ka Mate. Ka Mate is said to be composed in the early 1800s by Te Rauparha, a Māori chief, who was running away from an enemy tribe and sought help from Te Heuheu. Te Heuheu directed Te Rauparha to seek the protection of his relative, Te Wharerangi, by Lake Rotoaira. Reluctantly, Te Wharerangi instructed him to hide down a kumara pit and asked his wife to sit on top of the entrance. As the enemy tribe came closer, it is said that Te Rauparha muttered “Ka Mate! ka mate!” under his breath (Will I die!) and “Ka Ora! ka ora!” (or will I live!). To Te Rauparha’s luck, he came out of the pit and saw the sunlight again.




Classroom Activities

1) Sports Word Search
Let your students practice their sports vocabulary with our word search. You can easily turn this activity into a competition to see which of your students can pair and find all the words the quickest!

2) ‘About Me’ Rugby Shirt
Get out your colouring pencils! This activity lets your students design their own team shirt and describe their ideal mascot and logo.

3) Sports Tarsia Puzzle
The Haka is all about unison and preparing teams to take on the imminent challenge together. In this spirit, we give to you the Sport Tarsia Puzzle. Your students will need to work together in order to pair up the triangles and create a larger triangle.

We’d love to see what multilingual fun you and your class get up to, so don’t forget to share any photos with us on our Facebook and Twitter channels! Enjoy the Rugby League World Cup 2017 and bring on the hakas!