DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — The Haka

In 2002, I shot this picture on film of a demonstration in New Zealand of the “Haka,” an ancient Maori war dance intended to frighten an enemy. New Zealand’s rugby team still uses it to intimidate international opponents.

The Haka, an ancient Maori dance.
The Haka, an ancient Maori dance.

The first Europeans to see it were Dutch traders (who knows, possibly including one of my ancestors). They landed in 1642, and believed they were being welcomed.

Not so.

Instead, they were attacked. The survivors retreated to their ship and set sail, pursued by warriors in canoes. A century passed before Europeans visited again.

Our trip, however, turned out splendidly. Dorette and I absolutely loved the country. We also took a side trip to Australia, also wonderful.

New Zealand is on my list of places to revisit, with a mild reservation.

When we were there, a newly elected government began to sell off wilderness lands for private development. Trophy houses likely sit on then-pristine mountain sides. It would distress me to see that.

The trip had an unanticipated extra expense.

I struck up a conversation with a guy carrying an interesting-looking camera. It turned out to be the just-released Canon 10D, one of the first truly high-end digital cameras.

My film days were mostly over from that moment.

Back home, I went into hock to get one and haven’t looked back. There have been several upgrades — I traded up on all of them, ending with my current 5DMark III.

That should be the last one. Probably.

One thought on “DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — The Haka”

  • Hope Johnston February 7, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I love watching haka; it’s almost as wonderful, to me, as Scottish bagpipes.


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