The Story of “Kaipahua Kura”, Kahuku’s Very Own Haka

Today’s feature for JV Week is about a new part of our Red Raider tradition. Many of you have probably seen the new JV Haka. Here it is if you haven’t seen it yet.

What some might not know is that the haka was made for Kahuku. Here are the words and it’s English translation.

Ko Wai Matou? Kaipāhua Kura
Who are we? We are the Red Raiders
Ko Wai Matou? Kaipāhua Kura
Who are we? We are the Red Raiders
Ko Wai Matou? Kaipāhua Kura
Who are we? We are the Red Raiders

Eke ake Hi
We will move Onward and Upward
Eke ake Hi
Through this team then on to the next challenge
Eke ake Hi
Forward Never backwards and Upwards never down
Eke ake Hi
We will go On and then Up through the season
Eke ake Hi
We will always strive to go Onward and Upward (The boys respond with Hi to say “Yes” or “I Agree” “I will do my part”)

Kei te papa pakanga
On this battlefield – Our Football Field
He iwi kotahi
We are unified we are one
Mo nga iwi Whanui
For our families and Community (Who have been through much)
Tangata kairakau
We will stand as Warriors (For them)
Tangata Maia
We will stand Brave
Tangata Wehi kore
And We will never retreat, there will be no surrender
Kaua ka mate wheke
We won’t die like Octopus (Retreating from Danger)
Ka Mate Ururoa Kaipahua
But we will fight with courage like Hammerhead sharks, Like the Raiders of the past.

Ruturutu – Hi
We will Tackle Hard
Makamaka – Ha
We will Play as a unified Force
Ruturutu – Hi
Tackling Hard
Makamaka – Ha
We will play as a team

Ko Wai Matou? Kaipāhua Kura HI
You may wonder who are we? We are the Red Raiders (We Continue the legacy)

Pretty mean huh, but there’s more to the haka than just chanting and moving in sync. In every haka, there is an individual meaning and background within the words and motions. The man who created this haka is Seamus Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is a Special Instructor at BYUH and a Manager/Cultural Specialist in the Aotearoa section of the Polynesian Cultural Center. Fitzgerald’s son, #73 Kawika Fitzgerald, plays on the team. We are grateful to have Seamus Fitzgerald for our 1st ever guest interview here at KahukuNation. Here is his story of how “Kaipahua Kura” came to be.

Seamus Fitzgerald Cultural Specialst

The JV Haka basically happened because I am one of those Maori who watch the 100′s of videos on YouTube of high schools and colleges in the USA doing Maori Haka and 99% of the time I feel offended. Once in a while I see a good one and it makes me feel proud that our noble dance from our little island in the sea has left a mark all over the world and is being seen by 1000′s. But most of the time I don’t like that the words are butchered, motions are mangled, and tempo is put on hyper-drive. I had been asked in 2003 by Aunty Marcie Mo’o in the P.E. Dept. to come into Kahuku and help with haka and I didn’t want to. I didn’t like how at that time the schools all over the island and mainland were doing Ka Mate and didn’t know anything about it.

This year my son, who was homesick for New Zealand and had never played football at all, tried out for JV and made the team. The coaches took him in and have been patient with him as he tried to learn the game as well as his position. I ended up on campus during “hell week” and my son first asked me if I would teach the team a haka. I guess the other players had asked him so I started thinking about it. As I stood there watching the Varsity train with my wife Jelaire, who is a Red Raider Alumni Class of 1992, I thought about the football program that has grown to be the Pride of the North Shore. Watching those boys that night doing bear crawl after bear crawl, I couldn’t help but think about what happened last year and how the senior students never got a chance to vie for the State Football Title. I also thought about how being a Red Raider for many of them is a life long goal and one of the highlights of their life. With all these thoughts in my head, coach Joe Macatiag, an old friend, came up to me and said “Bro, can you teach these boys about the haka?” Whether I taught haka or not, I knew they were gonna do haka anyway. And I felt a little concerned about my son doing Tika Tonu, and his friends and families back home in NZ seeing videos of him on YouTube, because they’d expect more from him. So it was time to walk the talk. I told Coach Joe I’d teach them about haka and also write one for them. The haka would be simple, not very long, but it would be theirs and no one else’s.

The inspiration behind the words is basically how I see the Red Raiders as an outsider. I didn’t attend Kahuku High School but I’ve lived in the community on and off since 1994 and I am very familiar with their legacy. I’ve watched them play and I’ve been a part of the Gameplan Football Academy and seen the player’s talent and heart. If someone was to ask me ‘how would I describe the Kahuku Red Raiders’ the haka is how I would describe them, it is not derogatory to their opponents at all – the haka is to themselves and is simply a reminder of who they are, their legacy, who they represent, and how they need to play. It is a gift from our family to the school and especially the team and coaches. A small token of appreciation for taking my boy in and making him feel welcome when he was homesick for Aotearoa. I Thank Iraia Bailey for his inspiration. Go Big Red!!

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33 thoughts on “The Story of “Kaipahua Kura”, Kahuku’s Very Own Haka

  1. thank you seamus. finally a haka we can be proud of and call our OWN. great read. i hope these boys appreciate it and remember it and what it should mean to them for the rest of their lives.

  2. now its time to repay those people that sacrifice time and effort in you young men! step up and represent, “Bred to wear Red”, “Beast from the East”, “Red Raider For Life”! Mean

  3. Special Read for me – you gotta love the importance one heart, one mind and unified.
    Thanks Seamus (my brother in law) and love you Kawika – Go Big Red!!!

  4. Wow! Chicken skin!!!! Thank you, yet another testament as to why our community is just ALLLLL THAT! What an awesome labor of love Seamus! You can actually tell they’ve been educated cause there’s that much more HEART in their chants-they know, feel, and mean what they’re saying…LOVE IT! Proud to be a Red Raider!!!

  5. Reading and sharing this from Aotearoa,good on you Seamus,and Kawika would do us all proud anyway !!!,just like his cousins,mum etc who have been thru that kura…mauri ora!!

  6. We are always and forever will be a unique blend of cultures that will send a message to the world that no matter how we differ in culture, belief, or appearence, we will always come together as one and in respect, represent and give 100% effort with the “PRIDE” that can only be found on the North Shore of Oahu.

    RED ALERT! BE AWARE OR YOU’LL GET HURT! (guarantee somebody going make a
    t-shirt so’o outta dis)

  7. Awesome article Kahuku Nation! Seamus hit the nail on the head about how the haka around the state is being misrepresented…”that the words are butchered, motions are mangled, and tempo is put on hyper-drive.” Huge shot out to you Seamus for stepping up and repping your people and your culture the right way and for teaching our youth to do the same. For that I applaud you and thank you very much for you time, effort, knowledge and of course your MANA! Now they have a full understanding of what the haka is to them and they can call it their own…Big mahalo to Seamus and his family for their continued support of our boys in our community…GO BIG RED! RR4L!

  8. What a gift it is to have a brother and representative of the Mauri Nation present us with a special token that represents the essence of who we have been for generations… Our very own Haka! Deepest appreciation with humility and respect to Brother Seamus Fitzgerald.

    I’m a Red Raider currently residing in Alpine, Utah and over the years I’ve sent each of my kids to Kahuku for fall sememster to partake if the rich legacy that only can be found on the North Shores of Oahu… This year my son Alema, #11 for the JV squad is a part of this; so I thank you personally Seamus for making his experience even greater… It’s been vital that my own children experience being a Red Raider and living in Laie like I did. It has made a huge and lasting impact on their lives. Thank you Kauku for taking care of your own!!!!!

    -Pele Tautu

  9. Seamus!!!!! What a gift, a blessing, a piece of yourself and heritage that you’ve shared! It’s ALWAYS good to see someone ‘WALK the TALK’ and not be SO PROUD that they can not share! You’re to be respected for your fine example of your culture and the Spirit of Polynesia in general! Thank you for stepping up to support one of the main bloodlines of the special community that the RAIDER NATION is a part of! Good on ya!
    ~soap

  10. Inspiring story. Though I never went to Kahuku, living in Laie, you just tend to feel the Red Raider spirit all around you and sometimes claim to be a Red Raider. Lots of respect to you Seamus for creating a personal haka for our youngsters and alumnis abroad that represents our culture as polynesians with dignity and pride. Sharing our culture values, talents and stories is what makes us unique and allows our heritage to grow stronger. I’m so grateful to the church as it continues to bring many our of Polynesian cousins to school at BYUH and provide jobs at PCC. Faafetai Tele to Seamus and your family as well as the rest of our community supporters. Go Big Red!

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you Seamus. Always great to see our community come together as one and this new haka, OUR VERY OWN HAKA, will surely unite our community even more. Would be nice for everyone to learn and see how much more of an impact we can all make. Awesome….chicken skin….Have always been and will always be proud to be a RED RAIDER!! Bleed RED thru and thru!!

  12. I was searching through hakas watching the horrible displays and interpretations after a good friend on facebook expressed her disappointment in the misrepresentation of her culture’s heritage. After watching an east-coast football team’s “hyper” version I had enough and needed to watch a real haka to cleanse my palette. That’s when i found the JV HAKA. Thank you. I watched it over and over again to help me forget the videos I happened across previously. Well done!

    A FAVOR TO ASK: All you Red Raiders out there on the mainland and everywhere else.Meaning: Those who are involved with; playing for; or coaching. I ask that you keep this haka reserved for the young men of the future Red Raider teams. Please don’t let me see some group from Po-dunk, USA doing this haka because brother’s-wife’s-uncle’s-son is on the team.

  13. past couple of years going to football camps in Utah and seeing the HAKA being chopped up by people looking it up on you tube…..I was offended and I am not even Maori. At the Camp they had this guy teaching a made up HAKA, while all the other players were following his lead…all the kahuku players stood there with their arms folded. When asked by the camp leader why didn’t they participate ??? One player said “Aunty” (who works at the Maori village) would be insulted if we did that haka and I should have known better”. He gave the Camp Leader a short lesson of the HAKA…..I wanted the Kahuku Boys to perform the HAKA so bad, but as humble as the kids were they didn’t want attention brought to them. All week they had this kid from Utah to start the HAKA it was so butchered….again I was offended. Those people living in the Mainland missed a choice event if the Kahuku kids woud have done their HAKA taught by the Maori Leaders in Laie. Yeah I’m being prideful but these people gotta learn…..YOU DON”T LEARN A HAKA FROM YOU TUBE!!!!!.

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