19 Sep 2011

Haka re-enactment highlight for South African coach

8:24 pm on 19 September 2011

The coach of the South African rugby team, Peter de Villiers, says a visit to the location where the Ka Mate haka originated is a highlight of his life.

The side was welcomed to the Lake Taupo region on Sunday.

A powhiri was held at Opotaka near Turangi, the place where the Ngati Toa chief, Te Rauparaha, who had ties to Tuwharetoa, first composed the haka.

The haka group Matua performed the entire Tuwharetoa version of it for the players, who sat on the exact spot where Ka Mate was first enacted about two centuries ago.

Peter de Villiers says he could feel the performers' passion and their understanding of the true meaning of the haka.

"The people here make you feel responsible when you listen to it - you hear it, you accept it, it's not a challenge only, it's a challenge of friendship.

"I'm very humbled by it and this is a highlight of my life."