Articles

This is why the rituals of the tattooed Maori Warriors live on


 

New Zealand's national rugby team – as well as a lot of other New Zealanders –  perform a foot-stomping, tongue lashing, rhythmic battlefield dance before every match.

The dance, called the Haka, is a group war cry dance, originally used by the native Maoris of New Zealand.

New Zealand soldiers perform a traditional haka during a welcoming ceremony for Mrs. Laura Bush at the Bamiyan Provincial Reconstruction Team Base in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province. (White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

Maoris were descended from Eastern Polynesians who canoed all the way from Polynesia to what we now call New Zealand in the 13th century. That's a distance of at least 900 miles.

A warrior culture soon emerged among the Maori and they developed a number of societal traits, namely the moko tattoos, which convey information about the wearer's genealogy, tribal affiliations, status, and achievements.

But it can be a pre-battle challenge to opponents.

Moko are drawn by a Tohunga ta moko – a Maori tattoo expert – during a process that is considered a sacred ritual. Men wear their moko on their faces, buttocks, thighs, and arms and women wear them on the chin and lips. They are also applied with a sort of chisel, which give the Maori tattoo textured into the skin.

Maori warriors perform a Powhiri haka, a traditional welcoming ceremony for Airmen who just arrived at Christchurch, New Zealand. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Haka, the aforementioned battlefield dance, is still performed to this day. But it's not just a war dance. It is used to welcome special guests and celebrating an achievement. Women as well as men can take part in the dance.

The storied history of the Maori warrior goes well beyond tribal dances and tattoos. Catch the first episode of We Are The Mighty's "Elite Forces" featuring the Maori Warriors.

Watch more Elite Forces:

This is how piracy became totally legal during wartime

Here's what you didn't know about the Queen's Guards

This is why Cossacks are Russia's legendary fighting force

These are the slave soldiers that defeated the Mongols

4 awesome facts about Shaolin Kung Fu

GEAR & TECH

6 of the most notable pre-M16 military guns

Throughout history, the U.S. Military has used a wide variety of guns to win its battles. Prior to the M16, there were several weapons used across the service throughout some of the most devastating wars the world has ever seen.

Here are some of those weapons:

Keep reading... Show less
Articles

How R. Lee Ermey's Hollywood break is an inspiration to us all

While there have been many outstanding actors and celebrities who have raised their right hand, there has never been a veteran who could finger point his way to the top of Hollywood stardom quite like the late great Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey.

Keep reading... Show less
International

China and the US could end up in a war – here's what would happen

It's unlikely that the U.S.-China trade dispute is going to escalate to a full-scale war any time soon — but it's not impossible. Neither side is inclined to go to war with the other, but a war of that scale is what both plan to fight. All it would take is one bungled crisis, one itchy trigger finger, one malfunctioning automated defense system and the entire region could become a war zone.

Keep reading... Show less
Lists

Here are the best military photos for the week of April 20th

The military is always evolving and new things happen every day. With each changes comes a new set of challenges and new opportunities to succeed. Thankfully, there are many talented photographers in the community that capture these struggles and triumphs.

Keep reading... Show less
History

5 ways troops accidentally 'blue falcon' the rest of the platoon

Every now and then, the pricks known as 'Blue Falcons' come and ruin things for everyone else. They break the rules and make everyone else suffer. They rat out their brothers- and sisters-in-arms. They even damage the reputation of others to make themselves look better.

Keep reading... Show less
Articles

Why I'm thrilled Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel

Look, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is really lighting my fires when it comes to their female superheroes.

When Marvel Studios announced they would be bringing Captain Marvel to the big screen, I was thrilled. I was also immediately invested and my expectations shot through the roof.

Keep reading... Show less
History

This is how American pilots used drop tanks as bombs during WWII

If you pay attention, you might sometimes see long, cigar-shaped pods firmly attached to the undersides of classic fighter and attack aircraft, sometimes with unit markings on them.

Known as "drop tanks," these simple devices extend the range of the aircraft they're hooked up to by carrying extra usable fuel. Back during World War II, however, attack pilots found a secondary use for drop tanks as improvised bombs, used to bombard enemy ground positions.

Keep reading... Show less

The hilarious ways Chinese police are combating jaywalkers

China is so desperate to stop jaywalkers it has turned to spraying them with water.

In Daye, in the central Hubei province, one pedestrian crossing has had a number of bright yellow bollards installed that spray wayward pedestrians' feet with water mist.

Keep reading... Show less