Written by by Staff Writer, CNN
New Zealand’s most important haka was performed last month in New Zealand for the first time since 2014 because the country’s Māori leaders want to put an end to anti-vaccine protesters.
In a ceremony last week, Māori elder Ngarimu Katoa launched “The Countdown Ball for Vaccines” to coincide with the launch of “Kōkiri”, the French word for health, in Aloha Coffee Shop in central Auckland.
Members of New Zealand’s Māori community plan to hold a ceremony to launch a boycott on vaccinations due to anti-vaccine protesters. Credit: Sonia Sirletti
“Everybody should be able to live safe and healthy lives with all our essentials such as children, elderly, visitors, and first responders, but many are not getting their full protection,” Katoa told New Zealand media.
The Ha-kōkiri has been performed for hundreds of years to commemorate battles and important events in New Zealand, including the Battle of Forrer Pass in 1840, which led to the Pakeha takeover of the country.
Anti-vaccine campaigners reportedly use the haka in their demonstrations at schools and work. Credit: CNN
Katoa called on local Māori leaders to show their support by opposing the consumption of school breakfast vouchers, social services contracts and a number of other vaccinations.
RNZ News said it had received emails and texts from anti-vaccine protesters used in connection with “Kōkiri”, and been asked to check whether they were being used during the haka.
Immunity for Māori children could be compromised by vaccination, Katoa said.
Recently, a United Nations study claimed that education is “crucial” for Māori people to regain their health and wellbeing.
CNN has approached the New Zealand Ministry of Health for comment.