Our Special Character

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. 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

Pīkarikari ngā taringa
Tū rangatira!

Tēnā i ruia(1)

He piko
He taniwha

Anei te hikuroa o Hotumauea(3) Kua puta i te rua

Tahi ka riri toru ka whā

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

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

Reveal your 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! 

(1) 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 one’s true potential. 

(2) 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. 

(3) 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.


The waiata of Hamilton Boys’ High School

The first verse of the school song is dedicated to the values of the school crest represented by the star (excellence), lion (courage) and sash (service). It encourages us to have a strong sense of personal expectation so that the community can benefit from the knowledge and skills the individual develops on their journey through education.

The second verse is a proud dedication to the Waikato. With this verse we also explain who we are, where we are from, and reaffirm our intent to live up to the example of those who walked this path before us. As part of these messages we acknowledge a significant ancestor of the local sub-tribe, Hotumauea. We also mention the pepeha of the local people – ko Taupiri te maunga, ko Waikato te awa, ko Pōtatau te tangata.

Ngā kupu

He tapuwae ā-nuku, ā-rangi nā Tāwhaki 
Whāia kia niwha te iti kahurangi 
Hei oranga tangata, oranga whānau 
Hei oranga ā-iwi 

He tapuwae ā-Hotu , he hāraunga ā-nuku 
Toa taumata rau, te tauira ka aru 
Ko Taupiri te maunga, Waikato te awa 
Pōtatau te tangata 

Follow in the footsteps of our forbears 
Courageously pursue the height of excellence 
For the well-being of all 
United together, it shall be done 

Follow the footsteps of Hotu, imprinted on the earth 
He is the example of strength that shall be pursued 
Taupiri is the mountain, Waikato is the river 
Pōtatau is the chief 
United we stand proud, for we are of the Waikato 

(1)  “The footsteps of the earth and heavens of Tāwhaki” – a reference to his feat of attaining the kete of knowledge and that we should follow his example.

(2) Reference to the incredible strength of Tāwhaki to complete the task. This thought is representative of the lion on the school crest.

(3) “To ascend (the heavens) and obtain what is precious” – the words “iti kahurangi” has a double meaning and comes from a well known Māori proverb that talks of pursuing what is precious to you (your goals), and let nothing but a lofty mountain stand in your way. The “iti kahurangi” from the perspective of Tāwhaki represents the kete of knowledge. But from the perspective of an HBHS student, it represents the goals one sets for himself. This idea is representative of the star on the school crest.

(4) Reference to those who benefit from the selfless act of Tāwhaki – the individual, his family, and ultimately the wider community. This idea is representative of the sash on the school crest.

(5) Reference to a well known proverb of King Tāwhiao that talks of strength in uniting under a common vision.

(6) Hotu is short for Hotumauea the ancestor attributed as the founding chief of the area settled by Ngāti Wairere. He was a courageous and powerful warrior with extraordinary athletic ability. Ngāti Wairere is one of the major hapū (sub-tribes) of the Hamilton area, and the hapū that is regarded as mana whenua for Hamilton Boys’ High School.