The World

Today’s Geo Quiz gets started in the Pacific.

The island nation we want you to name today is really two islands. The North Island and the South Island. That’s it.

Okay, there are plenty of smaller islands scattered around the two main landmasses…but they’re just specks on the map. This country is a long way from anywhere else.

Its closest neighbors to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. The continent of Australia is more than 12-hundred miles away…a good long swim across the Tasman Sea.

The British took control of the islands in 1840 and signed a treaty with the indigenous Maori people. But it was a flawed deal that’s still generating controversies.

Recently this country’s government tried to make amends …. including granting the Maori legal rights to a well-known war chant.

So can you name the island nation that’s split in two by the Cook Strait?

PRI’s The World

* Home
* Radio Program
February 13 February 12 February 11 February 10 February 9 February 6 February 5 February 4 February 3 February 2
* Podcasts
* Stations
* Global Hit
Global Hit archive Global Hit podcast
* Geo Quiz
Geo Quiz archive Geo Quiz podcast
* Topics
Best of the BBC Books Environment Featured Stories Health Music Heard on Air Technology Technology archive Tom Fenton’s Journal The World in Words World Books
* Multimedia
Audio slideshows Global political cartoons Photo galleries Videos
* My World
Discussions My World RSS
* The Team
* Contact Us

Haka rights

* view
* edit
* outline

February 12, 2009 | permalink | Yahoo! Buzz | ShareThis

Time’s up on our Geo Quiz today.

We’re looking for a country in the Pacific that’s made up of two main islands — one’s called North Island, the other South Island.

The answer is New Zealand.

This week, the government there announced a landmark agreement with several indigenous Maori tribes. It’s aimed at settling disputes that date back to the 19th century….as The World’s David Leveille reports.

The agreement announced in Wellington, NZ yesterday are an attempt to set history right and to make up for injustices dating back to the colonial era .

New Zealand’s Treaty Negotiations minister announced the government will pay out more than a hundred and fifty million dollars to 8 Maori tribes. The tribes will receive half the payout in cash and the rest in rents from government owned forests and credits for greenhouse gas emissions.

Oh and one more thing: The government also for the first time formally acknowledged that the Maoris are the legal owners of the Haka .

The Haka is the traditional Maori war dance made famous by the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team.

The Ka Mate Haka has become a pre-game ritual for the rugby team, a way of throwing down the challenge to opponents. The chant originated back around 1820… it tells how a Ngati Toa warrior chief named Te Rauparaha barely escaped death…he hid in a dark pit to elude his enemies…it was a very close call but as legend has it, he emerged alive, defiant and fierce.

Maori performs a traditional haka. Photo: PAMaori performs a traditional haka. Photo: PA

“Ka Mate Ka Mate it is death it is death…Kowa kowa it is life life”

Karl Burrows is with a London based group called Manaia…its goal is to entertain and educate people about New Zealand Maori culture.

Challenge: the Haka was originated by Ngati Toa’s warrior chief Te Rauparaha Photo: APChallenge: the Haka was originated by Ngati Toa’s warrior chief Te Rauparaha Photo: AP

Ka mate, ka mate! ka ora! ka ora!
Ka mate! ka mate! ka ora! ka ora!
Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru
Nana nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra
A, upane! ka upane!
A, upane, ka upane, whiti te ra!
‘Tis death! ’tis death! (or: I may die) ‘Tis life! ’tis life! (or: I may live)
‘Tis death! ’tis death! ‘Tis life! ’tis life!
This the hairy man that stands here…
who brought the sun and caused it to shine
A step upward, another step upward!
A step upward, another… the Sun shines!

The fearsome dance has shown up in some unusual settings like a New Zealand bakery commercial where gingerbread men do the haka. But now that the the Ngati Toa tribe officially owns the rights to the Haka, this type of commercialization may be off limits. Karl Burrows says the settlement is an important step in protecting Maori cultural heritage:

Burrows: “Well I think its been the first time that there’s been actual recognition of intellectual property rights in a settlement…usually they deal with land…..the haka is something that is precious to us, something that we hold dear to us, it ‘s got to be treated with respect , the fact that it’s recognised in ths settlement is really exciting for us.”

But there won’t be any restriction on performing the Haka in public. That means the All Blacks rugby team can carry on with the powerful pre game ritual… it’s helped them become one of the best-known sports franchises…and a team to watch in the next Rugby World cup to be hosted by New Zealand in 2011.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.