The Mika Haka Foundation exists to ignite young minds and transform bodies towards better lives through the performing arts and physical culture.
The Mika Haka Foundation (MHF) is a charitable trust formed to deliver the inclusive vision of successful Maori artist and entertainer, Mika, of an extraordinary future for all young New Zealanders – in particular, young people from diverse backgrounds and minority communities.
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The Mika Haka Foundation invites people of diverse ethnicities, cultures, sexualities and religions, living in Aotearoa/New Zealand, to find pathways towards better health and education opportunities through physical culture and the performing arts.
We aim to provide young people with direction and create an understanding of self-discipline and boundaries. Maori refer to this as Tikanga. This direction helps to empower young people to set goals and take responsibility for their own lives. We promote healthy living and always aim to lead by example.
We want to provide an environment of inspiration, encouraging dreams and the idea that nothing is impossible – to push yourself to new heights, to have no fear of failure and to be in a constant state of learning.
Mika and Mark James Hamilton formed Torotoro in 2000 expressly to create and perform Mika HAKA. This show used haka (intimidatory postural dance) as a base from which to target the popular market in the UK.
Creation of the show began with the recording of a CD in te reo (Mika 2001). The arrangement of these songs was modelled on electronic music then popular in British nightclubs. Mika HAKA premiered in Auckland in February 8th 2000, and its last full performance was the final night of its Edinburgh run in 2003. The eight Maori and Pasifika dancers who performed Mika HAKA in Edinburgh in 2003 were aged between fifteen and twenty-one. They were all graduates of Mika’s own summer school course in contemporary Maori performance (AUT). Their dance in Mika HAKA was a fusion of tu taua (Maori martial practices), kapa haka (Maori group performance), Pacific Island traditional dance and break dance (which is central to New Zealand’s hip-hop culture). Mika HAKA was a staging of a sequence of songs, theatrically aligned both to the concerts of pop celebrities, such as Madonna or Kylie Minogue, and to the cultural performances marketed to tourists in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Mika HAKA was an odd concoction. An urban Polynesian dance show made for Britain by a cross-dresser. Even so, the production found favour with New Zealand governmental and official Maori bodies. The show synthesised the nation’s indigenous and settler cultures differently to expressions of biculturalism ordinarily sanctioned by them.
Our work is guided by five Maori principles:
Whanaungatanga – We are collaborative in nature and believe that we are stronger together.
Manatangata – We take pride in ourselves, our work and our community. We believe that education, employment, combined with cultural, artistic and physical wellbeing will bring personal success.
Wehi – We want to ignite the minds of young people, encouraging them in their passions.
Tapu Takitahi – We believe in the sacred nature of the self. Being a leader to yourself first will allow you to lead others.
Manakitanga – We work together, care for one another, and respect each other.
Our organisation is directed by the following objectives:
- Social Change – We support all native cultures using diverse creative media to communicate visions of social change, beneficial to their own and the wider community.
- Culture – We support, record and promote the dissemination of new thought, through the arts, addressing the question – What is the native culture of Aotearoa | New Zealand?
- Arts – We aim to support, record and promote performing art forms that link with our mission and principles.
- Takataapui – We support, record and promote the takataapui cultural history of Aotearoa, and the dissemination of this information and knowledge to the wider community.
- Education & Youth – We support and promote youth events, activities, projects and discussion promoting native cultures working in unity for the benefit of all.
- Health and Safe Communities – We support and promote a commitment to healthy living and positive life choices amongst native cultures and the wider community. Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand who together with the British Crown formed a unique partnership called the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Treaty of Waitangi provides us with the foundation of Bi-Culturalism. MHF prides itself in being a bi-cultural organisation with a multi-cultural outlook. It is our belief that the whole world benefits by interacting with Maori. Despite internal differences, Aotearoa | New Zealand has not succumbed to terrorism.
▽ Native Culture
Native culture refers to ‘us’ – all the peoples of Aotearoa | New Zealand – all working together, through projects that create unity and integration.
Our native culture projects fulfill the MHF whakatauki (proverb): Kotahitanga ma te rereketanga | Unity through difference
▽ United Nations Standards
As well as recognising the values of our own native culture, MHF operates in accordance with the Human Rights Charter as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Our vision of ‘one world, many people’ means that our projects are open to all, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, or religious and political beliefs.