HBHS School Haka

Waikato Taniwharau

The haka of Hamilton Boys’ High School

This haka was composed to represent the values of the lion on the school crest. It also makes many connections to our local area and mana whenua.

The taniwha is a metaphor for a chief. We make this link to emphasise the special qualities of a leader that have survived the test of time. These include attributes such as honour, bravery, strength, pride and a sense for responsibility for the community. The saying “Waikato Taniwharau” also links us to the Waikato river.

It continues to make a link with an important ancestor of Ngati Wairere, Hotumauea. This binds us to the mana whenua of our school. Following that is a verse taken from a well-known haka of the Waikato area, which was shared by our previous school haka. This links us to the past as we look to the future. This verse also makes a connection with the people that we are performing the haka for.

Although there is one interpretation translated below, many different interpretations can be found depending on the context in which the haka is being performed.

Pīkarikari ngā taringa
Tū rangatira!

Tēnā i ruia[i]

He piko
He taniwha

Anei te hikuroa o Hotumauea[iii]
Kua puta i te rua

Tahi ka riri toru ka wha

Hōmai ō kupu kia wetewetea, wetewetea
Ara tū ara tē ara tau
Waikato taniwharau


(Call to attention)
Assume the stance of a chief!

Reveal you inner strength!

Of a hundred taniwha!
On every bend (of the river)
There is a taniwha!

Behold the entourage of Hotumauea
Who stand before you (like taniwha)

There will be continuous battle

Give me your threats and I shall make short work of them
In the heat of battle
Behold, the hundred taniwha of Waikato!


[i] The word “ruia” makes reference to the following proverb. “Ruia taitea, kia tū ko taikākā anake”. This translates to say “strip away the sapwood so that the heartwood stands alone”. It is a reference to searching within for inner strength to bring forth ones true potential

[ii] Waikato taniwharau, he piko he taniwha, he piko he taniwha – A well-known Waikato proverb that translates to say “Waikato of a hundred taniwha, on every bend (of the river) there lives a taniwha”. The word “taniwha” is largely believed to be a metaphor for the many chiefs that lived along the Waikato river.

[iii] Hotumauea – the ancestor attributed as the founding chief of the area settled by Ngāti Wairere. Ngāti Wairere is one of the major hapū (sub-tribes) of the Hamilton area, and the hapū that is regarded as mana whenua over the land of Hamilton Boys’ High School.