The HAKA and MANA - What happens in Vegas...
“If you’re going through hell, keep going” Winston Churchill
The HAKA and MANA - What happens in Vegas … By Kay Urlich
One of the biggest problems for people when merging paradigms; whether they are sports, work or relationships, is to strike the right balance between the heart, the mind and the soul. When is it time to be active and competitive, and when is it time to be nurturing and compassionate?
Change Can Be Confusing
Despite the difficulties, many women have integrated well into a male dominated workforce by incorporating male traits of action and competition. Men too, are expressing their feminine characteristics. We hear a lot about the changing attitudes of society, about GenY from American data, who seem to have it all together. But how are young kiwi males really doing, merging their capacity for nurturing and compassion with their strong, staunch, tough aspects?
In many cases, instead of men and women fusing their skills together, they simply become confused together, as their original core values become lost in the merging arrangement where, as one person takes on another’s core values, they lose some vital spiritual essence of their own.
The Same Confusions Occur Within Whole Societies.
For instance when Maori and European peoples merged, what did each culture take from the other, and what of great value did they leave behind?
Take the mana of the haka for example. The nearest word to mana in English is charisma, but mana is deeper and greater than that. It encompasses the spiritual, and is something that can only be earned over time and through the individual demonstrating he / she is of exemplary character in all respects. The mana of the haka is in the expression of integrity, prestige and strength being projected by the participants to the recipients. (All haka are performed with specific intent.) Whether it is a war haka, a challenge on the sports field, or any other, the haka is intended to show the audience that the group performing in front of them is proud and does not compromise on its principles.
With the arrival of Captain Cook to Aotearoa (NZ) came the merging of two warring cultures: The newcomers liked the haka so much that it blended easily into the developing nation, moreover, it has become a symbol of NZ maleness; the energy of the haka now pervades our homes: it has burned so much into our psyche that it is part of being a New Zealander
Squeezing The Life-Force
Wira Gardiner in 'Haka'. published Hodder Moa Beckett 2001 says: The haka has always been a vital part of Maori culture and tradition. Today it has a growing influence on the lives of all New Zealanders. it provides a powerful and dramatic vehicle for welcoming visitors, for challenging opponents, for rejoicing in victories, for protesting injustices, and for celebrating culture and way of life. The word haka is defined in 'A Dictionary of the Maori Language' (HW Williams) as ‘a dance’. Another meaning given is: ‘song, accompanying a dance’. Both these definitions have seemingly squeezed the mauri or life-force from the vigorous actions and style of haka we have come to know. However they are the correct terms to describe the many types of songs and dances from pre- European times. When asked to define the haka, most people will identify it as a war dance. This is an erroneous description, but is an understandable one given that most contemporary non-Maori have in their minds a picture of the haka Ka mate! performed by the All Blacks and other sports teams, with its accompanying air of aggression.
In pre-European early contact times the haka was used as a part of the formal process when two parties came together. Even when the purpose of the meeting was purportedly a peaceful one it was still necessary to remain on guard in case either party decided to use the opportunity to take advantage of the lack of preparedness of the other to attack and kill. Maori traditional history is redolent with examples of meetings with ‘peaceful’ intent being turned into violent attack. (More about women’s role in performing haka in the October/ November 2011, Structure of Energy Healing Newsletter)
Going For The Jugular
Take these headlines from an article in the NZ Herald August 2011, just prior to the Rugby World Cup - ‘Fierce All Blacks go for the jugular again’
The All Blacks’ pre-match “throat slitting” gesture may be making a comeback for the Rugby World Cup… the final act of the alternative haka Kapa o Pango, an aggressive drawing of the thumb across the neck, was toned down after complaints from the public and opposing sides. But before Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup match several players, including haka leader Piri Weepu, appeared to have reverted to the original gesture… It did not go unnoticed and many Australian newspapers referred to its chilling effect… Kapo o Pango composer, Gisborne artist Derek Lardelli, has defended the haka’s conclusion. He said it was a symbol not of violence but of the cutting edge of sport… The New Zealand Rugby Union’s (NZRU) review concluded that the gesture had a radically different meaning in Maori culture and within the haka tradition. It was believed to represent “hauora”, the breathing of life into the heart and lungs.
In fact many people don’t even know about hauora; the breathing of life into the heart and lungs, or mauri; the sacred heart that cannot be trampled on, especially young men, who when stretching into adulthood want to look tough around their peers - to gain mana - like their heroes the All Blacks, who gain mana for their warrior spirit.
Pumped up with testosterone and confused about manhood, young men seduced by the mana of the All Blacks leave the game and go home, filled with mixed messages.
An Avoidable Tragedy
With no distinctions made about aggression in sport, hauora or mauri, they see only its violence which is often re-enacted (especially if their team loses), upon their family, their mother or father, their wife, or the little child that’s now disturbing their peace.
In the report (Printed in NZCPR Weekly) blog, titled An Avoidable Tragedy. Coroner Wallace Bain called the death (murder) of three year old Nia Glassie chilling…he explained that NZ has a huge child abuse problem, one of the very worst records in the Western World, but that successive governments have failed to improve the situation as these horrific cases just keep on coming…
Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, former head of The Women’s Refuge, provides insight as to why this may be so. She explains how Maori women allow freeloaders in the guise of men unable or unwilling to work to live with them. The home becomes a danger zone and as these men have no biological ties with the children, they can be cruel and abusive. They are usually low skilled and of low intelligence and have criminal records, along with low self-esteem, and often have other children to other women. She said young Maori women seemed incapable of seeing these men for what they are (more about men, women and the DPB (Domestic Purpose Benefit) in The Structure of Energy Healing Newsletter October/November issue). She also commented that in spite of the rhetoric about loving their children, Maori – especially Maori leadership undervalue children
Spare The Rod
Rugby and the haka are not the cause of domestic abuse or the battering of babies, but young men who confuse toughness with mana contribute greatly to NZ’s record of violence toward women and children.
Before the arrival of Europeans, Maori never hit or humiliated their children. When Europeans arrived and watched little children running freely, they were shocked. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’, was their mantra.
Then, Indigenous Maori became confused, and they blended violence toward children easily into the developing nation, moreover, it has become a symbol of parental duty; the energy of violence now pervades many homes, it has burned so much into our psyche that it is part of being a New Zealander.
The energy of the haka and the message of violence toward children has stood the test of time in our multi cultural experience, when recently 88% (out of 54% of New Zealanders voted to repeal the anti smacking legislation), voted for their ‘right’ to hit their children.
Whether it is a smack or a beating, there is little difference to the heart and soul of a small child: to affect the sacred heart that should not be trampled on, or the breathing of life into the heart and lungs.
Love And Violence: It's For Your Own Good
What do these mixed messages of love mean to a little child? How is it that if somebody, especially somebody who has power over you, whom you love and trust most of all in the world, had the right to beat you - even a little slap (as was once allowed toward women) just a little slap – ‘that is for your own good’.
Deep in their heart children know that violence toward them is not okay, and any mother knows in her heart that little boys are soft and gentle, just like little girls.
Children need to know unequivocally that being soft and tender like a girl is okay, and being with a girl is okay too; that gaining mana is more than winning at all cost in sports, or relationships: That mana is both soft and strong in its own place.
But how do you choose to be soft when a culture of violence is all you know? And how could you know, when told for a lifetime that love includes violence?
What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas
Until a whole society recognizes the power of gentleness, young men and women will continue to be confused as they act out a cultural aberration: one that has poisoned generations of children before them who also saw the violence they enacted upon others, as part of their own personal failings.
Meanwhile, as jails fill up, and youth suicides increase, more and more young people grow confused as they become entrenched in a lingering national willfulness.
Perhaps it’s time to look to those who went before, where Maori understood, rightly or wrongly, that domination on the battle field was fought for brutally by warrior equals, who understood clearly and absolutely that only its heart and soul, its mauri and hauora, would come home.
Battle over: then warriors with mana left their violence on the field - what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
More about these issues in The Structure of Energy Healing October/November 2011Newsletter, where I will be introducing book three with: Introduction and Chapter One free.
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