New Zealand Embassy Seoul, South Korea
Maori group enthralls Myeong-dong
Crowds of young Myeong-dong shoppers stopped in their tracks for a powerful performance by one of New Zealand’s top Maori kapa haka groups at lunchtime on Tuesday, 23 October.
After a high-energy traditional performance, the crowd was treated to an impromptu Maori version of chart-topper Gangnam Style. Their renditions of Arirang and Pokarekare-ana (which Koreans know as 연가; it was taught by Maori soldiers to the Korean people during the Korean War) were also crowd favourites.
The kapa haka, meaning Maori group performance, was performed by the Te Arawa Maori Group from Rotorua. The group also ran a training session for their audience, teaching iconic Maori dances such as poi and haka.
The group were performing as part of the 49th Global Myeong-dong Festival. The group were led by Deputy Mayor of Rotorua Trevor Maxwell. In May this year, they represented New Zealand at the Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II.
“The reaction of the Korean audience to one of our top kapa haka groups was stunning. What a great opportunity for Korea to experience Maori culture in the middle of Seoul’s busiest street shopping district”, said New Zealand Ambassador Patrick Rata. “This was a fantastic way to celebrate 2012 as the Korea-New Zealand Year of Friendship, marking fifty years of diplomatic relations”, explained Ambassador Patrick Rata.
The Maori performance group was brought to Myeong-dong by the New Zealand Embassy to celebrate the official “2012 Korea-New Zealand Year of Friendship”. This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
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