#NativeNerd: Native Hawaiian Jason Momoa's AWESOME Aquaman Premiere HAKA dance

Jason Momoa Performs Haka at 'Aquaman' Premiere
Jason Momoa Performs Haka at 'Aquaman' Premiere

"Aquaman" star Jason Momoa honors his cast, crew and the crowd with a traditional Haka performance on the blue carpet at the "Aquaman" premiere.

Vincent Schilling

Momoa wowed the crowd - but what is the traditonal Māori Haka?

For this week's Native Nerd column, I have to give overwhelming credit to Jason Momoa and the Māori people who brought the beautiful Haka dance to the world. I am awestruck.

Jason Momoa wowed the crowd on Wednesday night at the Aquaman movie premiere in Los Angeles. Momoa, who is Native Hawaiian gave props to his New Zealand Māori brothers who stood at his side in leading a traditional Haka dance. It didn't take long for Momoa's Haka Dance to go viral, and Aquaman is outdoing pre-sales of Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War.

The crowd cheered at first then became quiet and awestruck realizing that Momoa was not just being overzealous, but paying true attention to the culture of the Māori.

The traditional Māori Haka or war dance is a display of courage by warriors who who strike their own bodies in rhythm as well as contort their faces in intimidation to their opponents.

Haka, according to those that use it, it is about building an energy force and getting the adrenaline to run high. It is an expression of honesty and love. The stomping is an acknowledgement to the heartbeat while making a spiritual, emotional and physical connection.

One of the most famous contemporary incidents of the traditional Haka was by the New Zealand sports team the All Blacks.

Called by some to be the greatest Haka ever seen live, the video has racked up over 31 million views.

More information on the Haka here:

Follow fellow Native Nerd, Vincent Schilling associate editor for Indian Country Today at @VinceSchilling - Make sure to use the Hashtag #NativeNerd

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com

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Comments (3)
No. 1-3

Have you looked in to how Ngati Toa has felt about the appropriation of the Ka Mate haka? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/feb/12/new-zealand-haka-maoris. As for Jason Mamoa performing haka to reinforce his brand of masculinity, I thinkg Peata Melbourne puts it nicely:


Very unappealing, when men think they must bully and threaten their rivals in order to prove their masculinity. But whatever.

As for Jason Momoa, who is Hawaiian, not Maori: Does he have no argument based on something like pan-Polynesian identity? Among Native Americans of North America, are there not similar borrowings of cultural expressions that were invented and developed first by only one tribe?


I had the same reaction as Peata Melbourne. I admire Momoa's desire to honor the Maori culture (which apparently was drawn on for the Aquaman film), but to honor something or someone includes respect. That haka looked slap-dash and last minute to me. I want to like Momoa as a person, but he's been doing things recently that make me question his character and shake my head in disappointment. C'mon, dude, be better than this!