Looking for a new way to energize your meeting or breathe new life into teambuilding programs? Tapping the ancient Māori ritual called haka may be just the thing, says Karl Burrows, director of Haka Works.
Haka is the traditional dance of the Māori people of New Zealand and is also a powerful teambuilding activity. Voice, body, facial expression, action, and movement all come together in purposeful expression. Haka Works offers a version of this fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength, and unity as a methodology for bringing attendees together and building team spirit.
“Our people are experts in haka. We are of Māori descent and have grown up with this tradition,” Burrows says. “Haka offers a different kind of team or meeting experience because it delves into our deeper selves — the forces that connect us to ancestors, people, and to place. We guide people through the process of haka, unwrapping the layers so that participants can experience these parts of themselves in a way that is fun and unifying.”
Haka Works is based in the U.K., with representatives in several other countries, including a new outpost in the U.S. Burrows says his teams have taught haka at events for 10 to 2,000 people. Burrows explains the process at a typical meeting or event:
“We surprise audiences with a haka performance, making our way through the audience to the stage with our haka chants. We then explain the inherent themes of authenticity, bravery, cohesive teams, and purpose. We teach the words and actions, and slowly as participant confidence builds, we help bring an energizing, unifying spirit and a deeper appreciation of the potential we all have within in us both individually and collectively.”