Is haka the reason why the All Blacks are the best team in the world?
The All Blacks are the New Zealand rugby team and current rugby world champions. They have an outstanding winning rate. Over the last 100 years, the All Blacks have been winning 77% of games played. Since the professional era, this has increased to 84%. In the last 10 years its jumped to 90%. It’s been claimed they’re the best team in the world.
So what makes the All Blacks so successful? What is it about their team and their culture which means they keep ahead of the competition year after year?
The answer at least in part lies in the ritual dance the All Blacks perform at the beginning of each test match – the haka. It’s a posture dance of the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand and has been performed by the All Blacks for over 130 years.
James Kerr, in his book Legacy, explains haka as a ritual which allows the All Blacks to connect to their core identity, and unify as a team around their core narrative and story. HakaWorks Managing Director Karl Burrows explains how haka, while a modern phenomenon made famous by the All Blacks, actually comes from an ancient Polynesian culture grounded in age-old principles of authentic leadership and community.
“Haka means to spark up the spirit of life. On a personal level, haka is about connecting to your personal power, your authentic self, to find the spark within. But it’s also about people, your community – whether family, school, a rugby team or your work colleagues – it’s putting those others before yourself. Haka requires an extraordinary feat of generosity, being big-hearted, sharing energy to inspire others.”
But all that energy is for naught if it is without purpose. Haka needs to have purpose otherwise its energy becomes scattered and meaningless. “We did haka for many reasons – to prepare for battle, to welcome guests, to celebrate, to mourn or to entertain. Whatever the reason haka was about commitment from the community – full-bodied, full-hearted commitment to that purpose.”
Here at TeamBonding, we know the key messages in haka and an inherent part of the All Blacks culture – authenticity, team unity and commitment to purpose – resonate with our clients. And this is why we are working with HakaWorks to bring haka to the US and Canada. Contact us to know more about team building haka workshops and presentations.