Echo lays down the Haka challenge

Echo lays down the Haka challenge

DO THE HAKA: Talite Vaioleti instructs young players to do the Haka at the Darlington Arena. Picture: ANDY LAMB

DO THE HAKA: Talite Vaioleti instructs young players to do the Haka at the Darlington Arena. Picture: ANDY LAMB

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TO welcome the All Blacks, The Northern Echo is challenging the people of the North-East to set a world record for the biggest-ever haka.

A haka is an ancient M?ori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace.

It is a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity.

Actions include violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and body slapping.

VIDEO: 11-year-old Dan Stephenson, who plays for Yarm Rugby, sets the bar high with his haka 

Today, the haka is still used during Maori ceremonies and celebrations to honour guests and show the importance of the occasion. It is also used to challenge opponents on the sports field, which is why it has been adopted by the New Zealand rugby team.

The All Blacks have used the haka as a pre-match routine for more than 100 years and most frequently perform a routine known as Ka Mate.

To celebrate the announcement of Darlington as a team host, Mowden Park player and Tongan international Talite Vaioleti led a group of youth team players in a colourful haka on the pitch at The Northern Echo Arena.

England Rugby 2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans has backed plans for a world record attempt and said she would be keeping an eye out for people's videos of their haka.

According to Guinness World Records, the largest-ever haka was achieved by 3,264 people at a sports complex in New Zealand, in February 2008.

Can the North-East go one better?

A mass haka, perhaps in Darlington's South Park, would be a great way to make the All Blacks feel at home.

Come on schools, colleges, offices, supermarkets – let's see videos of your attempts at the haka. Tweet your videos to #EchoAllBlacks or email them to newsdesk@nne.co.uk

Don't forget to let us know who you are and where you're from.

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