Publication Details

Simon, H. Hoani. (2015). Me Haka I te Haka a Tānerore?: Māori 'Post-War' Culture and the Place of Haka in Commemoration at Gallipoli. Australasian Canadian Studies Journal, 32 (1-2), 83-137.


This article is an extensive discussion from a Maori perspective into issues around the use of Maori cultural terms, in particular haka, to commemorate the fallen in WWI. Embedded in the article are key theories of cultural memory, 'war culture' and 'post-war culture'. The research outlines the differences between European and Indigenous war and post war cultural practices focusing on Maori. It seeks to understand the reluctance of Turkish officials to see haka being performed when it was apparently banned from ceremonies in 2005. It outlines the media reporting on the issue and the subsequent reintroduction of haka in August 2015 at the centenary of the Chunuk Bair battle. It unpacks deep problems inherent with using such items as they are vehicles of cultural memory. These memories carry with them deep-seeded issues in relation to colonisation and the military. It highlights problems around the cultural assimilation of haka and Maori and the lack of support from wider New Zealand for protecting Te Reo Maori (Maori language). It holds that there is a place for haka in commemoration and that Maori need to be mindful of Turkish cultural sensitivities as haka was used to wage war against them. However, it explores a counter argument, in that haka and cultural items can be used in post-war culture to promote understanding and peace while recognising the tikanga concept of mana whenua. It points out the words of Ataturk about the embracing of those who fought at Gallipoli as the sons of Turkey. It asks Turkish officials to recognise that under no circumstances is the performance of cultural items meant to cause offence and that Turkey's multicultural nature should recognise the practice as indigenous religious practice. As such it questions the role of Turkish officials approving Maori cultural items for commemorative ceremonies. Lastly, it opens avenues for further research in the issues raised.