Absorbing the Farewell Hakaz for Jonah Lomu in 2015
Tears welled up as I watched the public funerary rites for Jonah Lomu, the Kiwi rugby great who died prematurely in November 2015. I cried …. as sadness overtook me. He was not a friend. He was, in fact, an enemy when I watched the All Blacks play the Wallabies at rugby in his prime playing days.
So, “how come these tears” you may well ask. It was …. and is …. due to the intensity of expression and grief conveyed by the traditional grieving haka performances that adorned this moment of parting. The close friends and relatives who carried his coffin on to the ground were obviously grief-stricken, though not crying. But it was the deep commitment of the different collectives which moved powerfully and spontaneously into the funerary hakaz that honoured and farewelled a marvellous rugby player of Maori origins that grabbed my heart: whether white-shirted schoolboys from Jonah’s old school in the stands or rugby mates in suit and tie arrayed together within the grounds, their haka were moving episodes. These were, clearly, special haka chants and actions of funerary import to Maoris and islanders as well as the Kiwi pakeha – one and all enmeshed in the New Zealandness of the haka.
The import and meaning were so deep and profound for the participants and watchers at the ceremony that it penetrated my being and consumed me with sadness. Tears were the result. Goodbye, Jonah, powerful and fearsome three-quarter, Goodbye.
So, folks, absorb the power of their haka ….
TRIBUTE HAKAZ FOR JONAH LOMU
•Dec 1, 2015
Thousands bade farewell to rugby legend, Jonah Lomu in an emotional memorial service at Eden Park in Auckland on Monday (November 30) to celebrate the 40-year-old’s life and honour the impact he had on the game. Many of the speakers at the service referred not only to Lomu’s abilities on the field but what he did off it, making time for every autograph hunter and providing hope to sick children and their families with hospital visits and attending fundraising events.