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Learning experience 7: Music and movement Te kori me te puoro


In celebration of the coming of summer, Tānerore (the creator of haka, also known as Tamarore) personified the many forms of posture, dance and movement. He quivered his hands to represent the shimmering heatwaves that rise from Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) when heated by his ancestor Tamanuiterā in the summer season (Raumati). The wiri (quivering of the hands) is a fundamental part of Māori movement. Displayed in haka, it makes the movements deceptive, which is essential to the art of combat.


Music has always played an integral part in the Māori world. Māori relied on song to express their feelings. Music and song was also used to pass on ordinary and every day information.

It is recommended that teachers ensure authenticity and cultural appropriateness of waiata and haka. Iwi (tribes) have different dialects, rules and practices to follow.

Te reo Māori vocabulary

  • ka pai: good! well done
  • kaea: leader
  • kapa haka: performance group
  • kia tau: stop, settle
  • moko: tattoo on the face or body
  • piupiu: move to and fro, wave about
  • pūkana: open the eyes wide and dilate the pupils (men and women)
  • taihoa: wait, hold on!
  • takahi ki mua: move forwards
  • takahi ki te taha matau (katau): move to the right
  • takahi ki te taha mauī: move to the left
  • takahi whakamuri: move backwards
  • takahia: use the takahi step
  • tīmata: start, begin
  • wiri: quiver

Learning experiences