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NZ Aims To Take Guinness World Record For Largest Haka From France

Students perform a mass haka in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest haka in Masterton on 2 November, 2016. Photo: AFP / Marty Melville | RNZ

The official Guinness World Record for the largest haka is currently held by France - a feat achieved 10 years ago, with 4028 people taking part.

In 2016, 6000 people attempted to break that record in Masterton and then in 2017, an estimated 7700 people in Rotorua showed up for a mass haka as the British and Irish Lions prepared to play the Māori All Blacks.

Neither of those attempts were officially recognised.

There are now moves afoot to officially take the title off the French and set a new record on Aotearoa soil, while raising money for the Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust.

Named after co-founder Dame Hinewehi Mohi's daughter, Hineraukatauri, the trust operates New Zealand's only music therapy centres.

"I first heard about it (music therapy) when my daughter was born and it was clear she was going to have significant challenges in her life," Dame Hinewehi told Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan.

Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust is celebrating its 20th birthday but like many charities, Dame Hinewehi said it has been hit hard by changes in finances.

The idea for another record breaking attempt came after Dame Hinewehi learned it was the French who held the record.

"I always love a good waiata or a good haka and I found out that the French held this record and I thought, what a bizarre thing, we've gotta get that back.

"We thought, we've really got to smash out this record, we only have to beat 4028 French men and women doing the haka - the strange visualisation I have when I think about it."

The world record attempt would be a great time to come together and "celebrate our nationhood with a collective almighty haka... and absolutely smash it out the park", she said.

Dame Hinewehi said she will be speaking to Ngāti Toa Rangatira to ask for their blessing to use Ka Mate, composed by Te Rauparaha, a chief of Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

She would also speak with Ngāti Whātua, the kaitiaki of Eden Park.

Dame Hinewehi Mohi

                                                                        Dame Hinewehi Mohi. Photo: Supplied

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