Story: Ngā rōpū – Māori organisations

Engineers' haka, 1955

Engineers' haka, 1955

This mock haka was carried out by engineering students at Auckland University in 1955. The students appear to be carrying mock taiaha and wearing grass skirts instead of piupiu. Over the years this performance became a tradition, and by the 1980s it had degenerated to the stage where engineers were writing swear words and drawing sexual organs on their bodies. Māori students at Auckland University tried to have the haka stopped by going through formal channels, but to no avail. This came to a head in 1979 when a group of Māori students physically confronted the engineering students in what became known as the Haka Party Incident. The group who confronted the engineers were arrested and charged with a number of offences, and are known as He Taua.

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Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira
Reference: H1379

Permission of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Ngā rōpū – Māori organisations - Protest organisations', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 July 2024)

Story by Basil Keane, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017