The effectiveness of any haka performance is measured by the performers’ ability to elicit an emotional and psychic response in the spectator: to incite ihi. The (re)action of US pop star Beyoncé to an impromptu haka sparked vigorous online debate. Stripping back preconceptions regarding tradition, gender, and ethnicity, this spontaneous performance is read as an unbound moment where reciprocal awe and respect invoke a powerful tripartite performative energy, the wana.

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