Dawson Tamatea was a legendary teacher at Palmerston North Boy’s High School in New Zealand. He joined the all-boys school as the Physical Education and Math teacher (clearly as a living testament to “a healthy mind in a healthy body”) back in 1986, and had served the school and the local community faithfully for nearly 30 years. When he passed away recently, the school closed for a half day so that students and staff could attend the services, which were attended by hundreds and included many alumni as well. As the hearse made its way through the cemetery, all the boys of PNBHS came together to honor their beloved teacher with a proper New Zealand sendoff – a haka in his honor.
A haka is a traditional ancestral war cry of the Maori people of New Zealand, consisting of posturing and rhythmically moving, clapping and stomping the hands and feet accompanied by shouts. Traditionally, hakas were often performed by warriors to intimidate the enemy with their ferocity. However, hakas are also used in important occasions to pay respect or tribute to someone.
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