On the 17th of June, we welcomed the Waka Gezelschap to the USC. They were big, strong men in sports attire – basically every straight girl’s dream. The turn up was smaller than we had expected, but the upside of a workshop with a small group is the personal factor. We were taught a fairly basic haka (which are, simply said, stories told through dance) about a man that after a raid is left alone, flees from enemy warriors and hides in a well. Because ‘a hairy person’ stands over it and blocks the sun, the pursuers pass the well without noticing its occupant and the lone warrior climbs out again, returning home once more.
Aside from the haka itself, we were also taught the basics of Maori culture and the integral role the haka plays in it. While traditionally a war dance, performed to intimidate the enemy and pump up your own adrenaline, the haka is now performed at weddings, graduations, funerals and other ceremonial events.
We had a fun and educative afternoon, and we hope to see them again soon. As this was a ‘favour for a favour’ deal, we will compensate them for their efforts with a salsa or kizomba workshop – date to be determined.