More than 100 Māori and Aboriginal people performed the haka and corroboree today in Perth to honour the sacrifices made by ANZAC soldiers and to celebrate the coming together of two cultures.
Last Anzac Day, what was deemed the world's largest combined Māori and Aboriginal haka was performed. Today, a new haka titled Te Whakapuakitanga, composed by Haka For Life leader Leon Ruri, was shared.
“The message we want to get across is to honour the sacrifice of the ANZACs for our life that we’re able to have today,” says Ruri.
Today’s performance also signified the coming together of two cultures.
“That's one thing that I've been really passionate about is to create a new [sense of] listening to the aboriginal people," Ruri told NITV news.
“It’s not political, it's not religious in any way. It's literally the culture being on display and the stories come naturally.”
The haka also addressed mental health among indigenous men.
"It's an opportunity for us to be able to acknowledge those who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and the suicide rates that exist among our servicemen and women," says Ruri.
“The statistics say that we're twice as likely to die by suicide in Australia and New Zealand if we're indigenous, so this is an opportunity for us to be able connect back to our culture."
The groups Haka for Life and Corroboree For Life had been practicing together for the last month.
“We've got two incredibly beautiful indigenous cultures who really love to express themselves. To bring that back to its core and be able to demonstrate that and acknowledge that through the cultures that exist in the land is a wonderful thing,” says Ruri.
Corroboree For Life founder Ash Penfold says the goal of the performance was to “make noise”.
“And what that is is recognition, for, not just our un-aboriginal that fought, but our aboriginal that fought, our Māori,” he says.
Ruri hopes other states and territories in Australia will follow their lead and use Anzac Day as a cultural statement.
“This is a dream that I want to have haka and corroboree as part of every Anzac Day service and when you talk about the Anzac spirit you talk about the first peoples and the first nations people of each lands.”