WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India
Mar 19, 2019, 03.53 PM
New Zealanders have shown a unique way of mourning and paying respects to those killed in horrifying gun attacks on two Christchurch mosques. In the shooting, over 50 people lost their lived on March 15.
As the country struggles to respond to the horrific tragedy, people are gathering at different places to stage impromptu performances of the "haka war dance" to show solidarity with a Muslim community shattered by the mass shooting.
They are singing hymns and message of support and performing the intimidating ceremonial dance which begins with fierce chants roughly translated as "I Live! I Die!".
The haka war dance, whose origins lie with the indigenous Maori community, includes thumping of chests, stomping of feet and sticking out tongues.
Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, who participate fully in the country's sporting culture.
They are even well-represented in rugby union, rugby league and netball teams at all levels.
The traditional dance became a global symbol of New Zealand as the battle cry of its national rugby team, the All Blacks.
The New Zealand national rugby union team performs a 'haka', a traditional Maori challenge, before international matches. It is believed that the dance is meant to scare the opponents.
But the haka is not only meant to intimidate, but also to mourn, melding both hostility and beauty into an outpouring of true emotion, said Te Kahautu Maxwell, a professor of Maori at Waikato University.
"Haka is used for death and mourning. It is an integral part of the Maori mourning process. Haka is used to show love and compassion. Haka is used to uplift the spirits of bereaved families," Maxwell said.
People are gathering at different places to stage impromptu performances of the "haka war dance" to show solidarity with a Muslim community shattered by the mass shooting.