Footage of friends and whānau of a fallen Kiwi soldier performing a powerful haka at his tangi is now going viral, months after it took place.
Kiwi Kane Te Tai travelled to Ukraine independent of the New Zealand Defence Force in April of 2022. He volunteered, worked as a humanitarian, and led a reconnaissance unit on the front line of the war before sadly passing away in combat in March of 2023.
In April, his tangi took place at Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa Marae in Devonport where many loved ones were present. Now, a fierce haka that was performed at the tangi is going viral after it was posted to the Ukraine subreddit.
Commenters on the post are saying they can tell how much the haka means just through the emotion present in the video.
“As a Kiwi, I can tell anyone watching this that the raw emotion and power of the haka is multiplied 100-fold when witnessed live,” one person wrote. “I swear you can feel that mana in your core, it's tangible, real. A fitting send-off to another hero of Ukraine."
“You don't need to tell us the power of the haka,” another said. “Everyone knows it. Everyone. I personally can't watch one without getting either charged, teary, or both.”
“I couldn’t take my tear-filled eyes off that,” a third added. “It’s the only way I had to honour this young man. Probably telling of Māori culture that at least half of those gentlemen were in uniforms of service. Rest in peace warrior.”
The mana behind hakas just like this one is exactly why Spain's FIFA Women's World Cup team came under fire for their crude imitation of it earlier this week.
Kane Te Tai’s story is truly a heroic one, with his Instagram containing many of his unbelievable war stories. It’s great that he could be sent off in such a way and that there are so many people sharing their support not just for him but also for his culture.