“It’s outrageous that the record for the haka should be held by a European country,” the Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali
“Let’s bring the haka record back down under. You don’t have to be a New Zealander to take part, and we will be coached by experts.”
The record breaking attempt will be staged at Blacktown Showground at 10:30am on Saturday, February 4.
The Maori Wardens NSW branch, in partnership with Blacktown City Council, is making the attempt.
“I issue a challenge for everyone in Sydney to be part of this world record attempt,” Mayor Bali said.
The widely known “Ka Mate” version of the haka will be performed, which has a link to Blacktown through its New Zealand sister city, Porirua, the birthplace of its author, the Maori warrior Te Rauparaha.
The current haka record of 4,028 was set in France by Frenchy rugby fans in September 2014; toppling the previous record of 3,264 set in New Zealand during 2008.
Rawiri Ita, Chairman of Maori Wardens Australia, said the group was optimistic Blacktown could break the record, and was aiming for a target of 6,000 people.
“Even 1,000 people performing the haka will have the hairs on your neck standing up,” he said.
Mr Ita said the event was open to people of all ages and backgrounds, not just those of Maori descent.
“The “Ka Mate” haka we will perform on the day is the same version that the New Zealand All Blacks perform, so it is well known,” he said.
Registrations for the attempt open at 9:00am with each participant receiving an official wristband. Rehearsals begin from 9:30am.
Blacktown City Council is the reporting agency for the Guinness Book of World Records, which has endorsed the attempt.
The world record attempt is part of a full day of celebrations at the Showground where a range of cultural activities is planned including singing and dancing.
It is observed as a public holiday each year on 6 February to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document, on that date in 1840.
Waitangi Day Festival is at the Blacktown Showground from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Brief History of the Ka Mate Haka
The Ka Mate Haka was composed by Te Rauparaha, a chief and war leader of the Maori Ngati Toa tribe, in about 1820.
The Ngati Toa’s area includes the modern-day city of Porirua, which is one of Blacktown’s sister cities and Te Rauparaha is regarded as one of their most famous citizens.
Te Rauparaha composed the Ka Mate in about 1820 as a celebration of life over death after his lucky escape from pursuing enemies.