Rotorua New Zealand has pulled the worlds biggest ever haka crowd to smash the Guinness World Record for ‘the largest haka’.

The All Blacks were nowhere in sight this morning but more than 7700 energetic haka performers were out in force on Rotorua’s village green as the ‘Ka Mate, Ka Mate’ chant they’ve made world famous roared out across the city.

With the official count sitting at 7700, the huge crowd gathered on the shores of Lake Rotorua has certainly smashed the current world record set in France in 2014.


Pic: Taka Nakazawa

Rotorua is now the home of the world’s largest haka. All there is to wait for is the official verification from Guinness World Records.

Led by Rotorua Boys’ High School students and some of New Zealand’s leading kapa haka champions, the massive group performed the famed Ngāti Toa Rangatira haka, Ka Mate.

Locals as well as visiting fans took part including Meg and Roger Griffin who travelled from Birmingham to follow the British & Irish Lions around New Zealand.

“It is just so fantastic to be a part of all this. You come for the games but get all of these incredible experiences as extras. New Zealand is just amazing,” Roger said.


Pic: Dave Rogers

The powerful haka left locals and visitors in awe when confronted with the sheer size and volume of the war dance. The haka is an ancient posture dance of the New Zealand Māori that was traditionally used to prepare a war party for battle. These days it is more likely to be performed before All Blacks’ games and on significant solemn occasions.

Tristan Tuckey, co-founder of the International Rugby Club who masterminded the event, was ecstatic that the record was broken.

“What an incredible sight. The people of Rotorua and everyone else who came down are awesome.”

Tristan Tuckey, co-founder of the International Rugby Club

The official record currently stands at 4028 participants achieved at an event organised by car manufacturer Mazda in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, in 2014. The number to beat however was 6200 – the number of participants who performed a haka last year in Masterton (also in New Zealand) although their attempt is yet to be officially ratified.


Pic: Dave Rogers

The number of haka participants represented more than 10% of Rotorua’s entire population.

The world record attempt took place before the travelling British and Irish Lions took on the New Zealand Māori All Blacks at the Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday night. The haka was performed as part of Rugby 2017 Festival.

“Staging the haka before the Rotorua game where the Māori All Blacks face off against the British and Irish Lions just couldn’t be in a better setting,”


Pic: Dave Rogers

International Rugby Club’s co-founder and event organiser Tony Molloy says.

New Zealand’s Māori culture centre, Rotorua is also the country’s oldest tourism destination. The city (pop: 65,000) sits on an active geothermal landscape of geysers, hot spots and mud pools amid 18 trout-filled lakes.

Evidence of the attempt will now be presented to Guinness World Records, which can take up to 15 weeks to confirm the record.

Have you witnessed a haka before at a rugby match? Or just anywhere in New Zealand? Share your thoughts below.