Story: Kapa Haka

War dance, 1844

War dance, 1844

This painting by English artist George French Angas of a haka at Ōhinemutu, on the shore of Lake Rotorua, is based on an 1844 drawing by Joseph Merrett. It shows a group of naked warriors raising weapons in a haka posture. These haka developed co-ordination and fitness, and prepared warriors psychologically for imminent battle.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: D-010-001
Artwork by George French Angas

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Valance Smith, 'Kapa Haka - What is kapa haka?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 April 2024)

Story by Valance Smith, published 22 Oct 2014, reviewed & revised 9 Feb 2023