Lonely Planet Writer

Emotional New Zealand wedding haka goes viral

A passionate  wedding haka has gone viral after the bride was moved to tears and joined the dance.

Benjamin and Aaliyah Anderson getting married
Benjamin and Aaliyah Anderson getting married Image by Screengrab from Youtube

At the wedding of Aaliyah and Benjamin Armstrong in Auckland, New Zealand, the best man and the groom’s family spontaneously delivered the traditional Maori dance to honour the bride.

It had been speculated that the dance was to intimidate the groom, but it is in fact a sign of respect.

The groom's friends and family showed respect to the bride
The groom’s friends and family showed respect to the bride Image by Screengrab from Youtube

As the guests performed the heartfelt dance, the bride is seen to become increasingly emotional. “I was blown away, ” she later told the BBC.

The footage captures how she unexpectedly took to performing the haka in response to the guests. “I wasn’t planning on jumping in until one bridesmaid did. I felt the need to show love and respect back,” Aaliyah said. Women do not normally perform the haka, but they are traditionally allowed to do so during weddings.

One of Aaliyah's bridesmaids took to doing the haka also
One of Aaliyah’s bridesmaids took to doing the haka also Image by Scrrengrab from Youtube

The haka was organised by the groom’s older brother and his best man. Ben the groom, who is a fair-skinned but Maori,  received some negative comments on social media after the video went viral.

The emotional video ends with the newlyweds embracing their guests and each other.

Watch the video here.