The Māori tribe is asking anti-Vaxxers to stop using their Haka

A Maori tribe has condemned the use of a popular haka by anti-vaccine protesters in New Zealand.

Ka Mate haka is famous because it is performed by the national rugby team, All Blacks, which have special permission to perform the ceremonial dance of war before its battles.

It tells the story of Te Rauparaha, once a warlord of the Ngāti Toa tribe, who now has the legal custody of that haka.

“Ngāti Toa condemns the use of Ka Mate haka to push and promote anti-Covid-19 vaccination messages,” its CEO, Helmut Modlik, said in a statement.

“Many of our tupuna [ancestors] lost their lives in previous pandemics and our iwi [tribe] suffered a lot. We are fully aware that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection we have at our disposal and we are committed to supporting our whānau [family] to be vaccinated as soon as possible. “

Protesters have carried out the Ka Mate haka at several rallies against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and lockdowns in recent weeks.

The Ngāti Toa tribe said it issued the statement after hearing that Brian Tamaki, a prominent right-wing activist and founder of the fundamentalist Christian movement Destiny Church, had used it and planned to teach it to protesters before future rallies, New Zealand Newshub reported.

Pictures from an anti-vaccine protest in Wellington, the country’s capital, showed supporters waving Trump flags.

Some rally participants carried Donald Trump flags as they protested against vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions in New Zealand.
Some rally participants carried Donald Trump flags as they protested against vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions in New Zealand.

NEIL SANDS via Getty Images

Historically, pandemics have disproportionately affected New Zealand’s Maori society. Influenza pandemic in 1918 killed Māori at a rate seven times that of the wider population. During the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, Māori three times more likely to be hospitalized and almost three times greater risk of dying.

The corona pandemic has again affected the country’s indigenous population disproportionately, with Maori making up approx. 16.7% of the population, found to be with much greater risk hospitalization after infection with COVID-19.

New Zealand adopted a strict approach to pandemic management and enforced lockdowns to stifle outbreaks as they occur. The country is now moving from a zero-case strategy to living with the virus, having fully vaccinated 82% of its eligible population and administered at least one dose to 91%.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has set a goal of fully vaccinating 90% of those eligible before lockdowns end.

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