A haka is a traditional dance form of the Māori of New Zealand. It is a posture dance with shouted accompaniment, performed by a group.
The use of haka in popular culture is a growing phenomenon, especially in New Zealand. Traditionally, haka were used only in Māori cultural contexts, but today haka are used in a wide range of public occasions to impart a sense of importance of the event.
Many haka are performed exclusively by men which has sometimes led to the misconception that only men may perform haka. However there are a minority of haka which are performed predominantly by women, one of the most well-known women's haka being "Ka Panapana". In many haka though, the female role, if any, is limited to providing support by singing in the background.
Women were strongly involved in the traditional origin of haka. According to Māori mythology, the sun god, Tama-nui-te-rā, had two wives, the Summer maid, Hine-raumati, and the Winter maid, Hine-takurua. The child of Tama-nui-te-ra and Hine-raumati, Tāne-rore is credited with the origin of the dance.