Haka, by Patricia Grace, is the story of the great Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha and how he came to compose the haka ‘Ka Mate, Ka Mate’. The haka has become recognisable the world over by being performed by New Zealand teams at national and international rugby and other sporting events.

    The journey begins with Te Rauparaha being pursued across the island by his enemies and he fears for his life! At Lake Rotoaira, he hides in a kūmara pit, and Te Rangikoaea, a woman of great power, sits in front of its entrance for protection.

    As Te Rauparaha hears his enemies approach, he whispers in the dark ‘Will I die?’ Will I live?’. Because his enemies cannot find him he climbs back to the sunlight. As he recounts this adventure to his people, his words are repeated and the haka rings out, to be passed down from generation to generation.

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