'Bows to debut new Ha'a on Saturday, with fan participation requested

'Bows to debut new Ha'a on Saturday, with fan participation requested

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich and the Rainbow Warrior football team are set to unveil a new pregame ha'a against Tennessee Martin on Saturday, and one of the dance's composers is asking for fans at Aloha Stadium to join in on the action.

Having performed the traditional Maori war dance known as the haka in previous years, the Rainbow Warriors have instead spent the past six weeks learning a new version of the dance's Hawaiian counterpart, known as the ha'a. The new dance was written and choreographed this summer specially for the 'Bows by Thomas Kaulukukui, Kyle Nakanelua and Ke'eaumoku Kapu.

Though the team is keeping most of the dance under wraps until game time, Kaulukukui says the third and final verse is one where fans can -- and are encouraged to -- participate.

"The third part of the ha'a involves an invocation of manly responsibility," says Kaulukukui. "The leaders of the ha'a will call out the names of certain forms of Ku, and they will then be answered by the players, 'E Ku, E Ku.'"

For example, he says, the leaders of the ha'a will say "E Ku Mehe Ku," and then the rest of the team will shout "E Ku! E Ku!"

"The reason they are calling out those names is to inspire themselves and call up the spirit of responsibility," Kaulukukui says. "It would be terrific if they also inspired the stands, so that the fans might join in on the "E Ku, E Ku," and the more fans that join in might inspire the players."

Kaulukukui says as more fans shout "E Ku, E Ku," the message of the ha'a will become more powerful.

"I expect that iof we had that participation between the fans and players that the mana spiral like a cyclone and rise through the heavens."

Kickoff against Tennessee Martin is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday evening at Aloha Stadium.

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