July 05, 2023
Haka diplomacy breaks the ice
The leader of the kapa haka Te Whānau ā Apanui believes they silenced the sceptics with their contribution to last week’s trade mission to China led by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
Tamati Waaka says the kaupapa laid down by Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s of culture, connections and then commerce is working.
They resisted attempts to treat them as a sideshow – and ended up playing a significant ice-breaking role.
“It just made things run smoother – and I’m seeing our leaders talking to their leaders.. our business people talking to their business people – and just when the business side of things starts off with a smile. Ne? And a comment about what they had just witnessed. I think it made things flow nicely – especially at our banquet dinners, it just lightened the mood and made things easier for them,” Mr Waaka says.
Having the haka at the Great Wall of China go viral was a bonus.