19 Sep 2011

Special performance of Ka Mate haka

9:22 am on 19 September 2011

The South African rugby side has been treated to a full version of the Ka Mate haka.

A powhiri was held for the team at the Opotaka Pa near Turangi in the Lake Taupo region on Sunday.

It's where Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha first enacted the haka about 200 years ago, when trying to escape from a war party seeking revenge.

More than 100 people turned up for the powhiri.

The full Tuwharetoa version of Ka Mate was performed by the local haka group, Matua, which moved closer and closer to the team - who sat exactly on top of the spot where the haka was first enacted.

South African lock Johann Muller says he's grateful to have been taken to the place where the haka, Ka Mate, originated.

Coach Peter de Villiers says it's been the highlight of his life. de Villiers says he could feel the performers' connection to the haka and it was a humbling experience.