Protestors perform a haka outside Wellington’s Parliament, New Zealand.
Hagen Hopkins via Getty Images

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

Because the All Blacks are the country’s rugby team, Ka Mate Haka is a well-known haka. has special permission to perform the ceremonial war danceBefore its matches.

It recounts the story of Te Rauparaha, once a war leader of the Ngāti Toa tribe, which now holds the legal custodianship of that haka.

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

“Many of our tupuna [ancestors]Our iwi has lost many lives to previous pandemics. [tribe]These were very difficult times. We are absolutely clear that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection we have available to us, and we are committed to supporting our whānau [family] to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

In recent weeks, demonstrators have been seen performing the Ka Mate Haka at rallies opposing COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

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

Images from one anti-vaccine protest in Wellington, the nation’s capital, showed supporters waving Trump flags.

Some rallygoers carried Donald Trump flags as they protested vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions in New Zealand.
Crowds of protestors carried Donald Trump flags to demonstrate their opposition to New Zealand’s vaccination mandates and restrictions on pandemics.
NEIL SANDS via Getty Images

Historically, pandemics have disproportionately impacted New Zealand’s Māori communities. 1918 Flu pandemic killed MāoriThe rate is seven times higher than the rest of the population. During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, Māori were three times more likely to be hospitalizedNearly three times as likely that they will die.

The coronavirus pandemic has again hit the country’s indigenous population disproportionately, with Māori, who make up about 16.7% of the populationIt was found that at much greater riskHospitalization after COVID-19 infection

New Zealand took a very strict approach to managing pandemics, and enforced lockdowns to stop any outbreaks. After fully immunizing 82% of the population, and giving at least one dose of vaccine to 91% of those in need, New Zealand is moving from a zero-case to a living with virus strategy.

Jacinda Adern, the Prime Minister has set a target to fully vaccinate 90% of eligible persons before locking down.


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