Wedding haka video: Emotional Maori tribute brings bride to tears

'The whole purpose is to get some sort of feeling in the person you are doing the Haka to, as well as yourself. It's about moving people'

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The Independent Online

A video of a wedding haka that moved a New Zealand bride to tears has been watched more than 19 million times since it was posted on Facebook.

Aaliya and Benjamin Armstrong married in Auckland last week and were blown away by a performance of the traditional Maori dance at their wedding reception by the groomsmen and guests.

So moved by the passionate display were the couple that they joined in themselves, with Mrs Armstrong left in tears after the performance.

The video ends with the couple hugging the dancers.

Awesome HAKA at a wedding reception. #ProudPolynesians Click on link for a better understaniding of the New Zealand Maori Haka:

Posted by I'm Proud to be Tongan on Wednesday, 20 January 2016

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Mrs Armstrong told the BBC that the haka was a sign of respect from her husband’s family.

“I think the moment that got me was when one my friends, my bridesmaid, had jumped in. That's really one of the main reasons I jumped in, to show my love back to her.”

She added: “I felt the need to show love and respect back. I was really blown away.

“Ben is a Maori, he is probably more Maori than I am.

“Because he has fair skin, some people have been saying on social media that 'he'd better not hurt the bride', but they're actually his family.”

Mr Armstrong said performing the Haka was his friends and family's way to “show respect, support and love”.

The newlyweds were taken by surprise again when a film of the dance posted on Facebook was watched millions of time.


“Yesterday afternoon I left my phone alone for about five minutes and I had so many notifications,” Mrs Armstrong said.

The haka is the traditional ancestral dance of the Maori people of New Zealand, originally performed by warriors before a battle.

It is performed by a group and characterised by its vigorous movements, stamping of feet, and accompanying shouted chants.

Lewis Whaitiri, chairman of the London-based Maori Club, told the BBC that he“loves in this day and age that we are still able to hold on to our customs and traditions”.

He said that some people had a “misconception” that the Haka is simply a “war dance” and said that it is not unusual for it to be performed - as a means of celebration - even at funerals.

“It's about celebrating life and overcoming adversities that you face. In that sense, you can adapt the Haka and perform it at weddings or graduations.”

Asked why he thought the Haka was so loved, Mr Whaitiri said: “I think it's because of the passion that lives within the Haka and the way it's delivered.

“When you're doing the Haka the whole purpose of it is to get some sort of feeling in the person you are doing the Haka to, as well as yourself.

“It's about moving people, that's what it is.