Feature story on the Ha’a


About the penalty they got for doing the ha’a at Lousiana Tech, Brad Kalilimoku said:
“I think it was ridiculous. Not a lot of people understand what it is for. I mean, it’s not like we’re doing anything physical to the other team.” (DO)

DO Note: “Since the incident, No. 16 Hawaii (8-0, 5-0 Western Athletic Conference) ditched the haka in favor of a new Hawaiian war chant called the ha’a in order to better represent the Hawaiian culture. Kalilimoku, defensive back Guyton Galdeira and defensive tackle Keala Watson worked together to write the words and create the movements for the ritual. The three players are native Hawaiians and have experience with the language. Galdeira’s training in hula also added cultural flavor to the ha’a.”

About changing to the ha’a instead of doing the haka, Kalilimoku said:
“It gives back to our community and to our land and stuff instead of doing something that is Maori. This is not New Zealand or anything so (the haka) is kind of not showing respect back to our people and the land itself.” (DO)

DO Note: “The Warriors debuted the ha’a Sept. 15 before their game at Nevada-Las Vegas. The ha’a is an imitation of ancient Pacific Island war chants and is meant to unify the team as though it were going into battle. Watson reiterated that the chant could come across as an offensive taunt, but said the people who thought that do not understand its significance. UH is just trying to give itself identity and connect with its nickname of Warriors.”

About how other teams have their own rituals, Keala Watson said:
“Texas does the horn thing, and the Gators do their Gator chomp. The Hawaii Warriors, we do a ha’a. And that’s how we get pumped up for the games.” (DO)

DO Note: “Before the three players wrote the words and choreographed the moves, they gathered opinions from their teammates about what the ha’a meant to them. Once they had a team consensus, they wrote the lyrics for the ha’a. Galdeira said the motions are meant to be simple and flow with the words. Those words are not so simple to learn. Many players from the mainland are not familiar with the Hawaiian language. UH head coach June Jones allowed the team to practice the ha’a before and after practice, saying that it added great cultural value.”

About their ha’a, Galdeira said:
“It’s not whether you’re Hawaiian or whether you’re Polynesian or whether you’re even from Hawaii. It doesn’t even matter what kind of background you’re from. Something people should know about coming to the University of Hawaii is that we have a culture that you’re going to represent.” (DO)

DO Note: “The ha’a has become a fan favorite and many fans of Hawaiian descent appreciate and connect with the team’s chant. One purpose of the ha’a is to create a sense of community, which it has succeeded in doing. At San Jose State Oct. 12, Watson recalled that a large portion of UH fans in the stands erupted in cheer when the Warriors gathered for their game ritual. Although it is not meant to intimidate the other team, the unity the ha’a creates gives UH a mental advantage.”

About how doing the ha’a benefits their team, Watston said:
“Any time a team shows that they are able to come together and do anything, anytime they can do the same motions, the other team is going to get scared because this is a team that is ready to play, and they’re coming out as one unit.” (DO)

DO Note: “If someone wants to know the words of the ha’a, they will either have to wait or try to walk on to the UH football team. The lyrics are kept within the team to add to the effect of keeping it unified. Fans have asked for the words because they would like to join the Warriors in the ha’a.”

About how they want to keep the words to the ha’a within their team, Kalilimoku said:
“It’s kind of our thing, and we really just understand it. If we put the words out, and everybody, particularly other teams, they could do it. We’re still thinking about, we’re not really sure yet.” (DO)


One Response to “Feature story on the Ha’a”

  1. Keali'i Says:

    Hi, my name is Keali’i
    I’m part of the Kamehameha Warriors Hawai’i football team and we were wondering if you would be willing to allow us to do the ha’a, you warriors came up with. If you will be willing to could you email me at this email please, h11kenaau@ksbe.edu.
    Mahalo, Keali’i

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