Rugby player Mikaere Ngamotu came to Oasis from New Zealand to learn Spanish and surfing, and taught us a lot about his Maori roots in return!
On the final night of his trip to Puerto Escondido, the Oasis family all gathered together at La Barca Surfhouse where Mikaere kicked off the fun night of coaching and socializing by performing a traditional Maori whaikōrero (speech) and haka for everyone. Before commencing, Mikaere explained the origins of the haka, it´s cultural significance, and how it has evolved over many years from representing intimidation to a sign of respect and admiration.
Hakas were first created and performed on the battlefield, as a war dance between clashing Maori tribes. They sought to intimidate and scare their opponents through aggressive facial expressions, body movements, grunts, and cries all performed in precise rhythm and unity. They also believed they were calling upon the God of War to protect them during battle.
Over time, the haka evolved and took on a new meaning of pride, community strength and means of showing respect. Within New Zealand, the haka is typically performed at the start of major national events (particularly rugby matches), as well as during occasions of personal importance such as weddings, funerals, or in the presence of special guests.
For most, Mikaere´s performance was the first exposure to Maori culture so it was a special experience that was enjoyed by all. Chatting with another one of our students afterwards, she talked of how great it was to have such an open exchange of cultures with mutual respect and appreciation. One of the things that makes Puerto Escondido unique is that there is so much diversity in such a small community, which you´ll likely begin to notice as soon as you meet all of the team here at Oasis. Come be part of our family and share your culture with us too!