Saturday, September 23, 2006

Maori Lutheran Does Haka at Arctic Circle Gathering for Indigenous Peoples

At 68 Ahi is still working and walking

Indigenous to the "Land of the Long White Cloud", Ahithophel Allen got known among the participants of the Karasjok conference for turning up with several Maori traditions, such as greeting in his language: "Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou" and his melifilous singing.

He became known also for his rendition at a cultural evening during the consultation of the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance, now performed before New Zealand's world-beating All Blacks rugby team begins battle in international rugby games.

Ahi still remembers the movements of the Haka, associated with hand-to-hand combat practiced in pre-colonial times. He demonstrated the synchronized action, timing, posture, footwork and war curdling sounds of the Haka with his own rendition.

A mean feat for a man born in 1938, remarked others present at the meeting.

Ahi had to leave home at the age of 15 to work as a post office delivery boy. That's why he was unable to get more schooling then. But still, it instilled in him the need to work hard to get ahead. That stopped him being afraid of putting his nose to the grindstone, and proof now is that he is working beyond the normal retirment age.

"I still go to work on foot and walk seven kilometers each day come rain, snow, wind or sunshine," says Ahi who lives in Christchurch the garden city on New Zealand's South Island.

He works as a coordinator at Ageconcern, Canterbury as well uses his singing voice at his local Lutheran congregation.

"We help elderly people who are not mobile due to ailments or age. We pick them up with minibuses to do their everyday chores," says Ahi who works on a partially-paid basis.

Un luthérien Maori offre un Haka aux peuples indigènes réunis sur le cercle arctique

Originaire de la "Terre du long nuage blanc" (Nouvelle-Zélande), Ahithophel Allen est vite devenu connu des autres participants de la conférence pour ses salutations Maories, sa voix mélodieuse et chantante. Lors de la soirée culturelle, il est aussi devenu célèbre pour le Haka traditionnel qu'il a offert. Cette danse guerrière est surtout connue via l'équipe nationale de rugby des All-Blacks qui continuent d'effrayer leurs "ennemis" avant chaque match par cette combinaison de cris, de gestes et de grimaces.

L'agilité de "Ahi", 68 ans, lui vient probablement de ce qu'il continue à parcourir à pieds 7 km chaque jour pour aller travailler - ce qu'il fait depuis l'âge de quinze ans! Coordinateur de l'association Ageconcern, dans sa ville de Christchurch, il vient en aide aux personnes sans mobilité à cause de l'âge ou de la maladie. "Nous les accompagnons, en minibus, pour leurs tâches de chaque jour."

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