Witness one of the most emotional hakas you'll ever see, performed at the wedding of New Zealand couple Aaliyah and Ben Armstrong. Most people outside of Polynesia have only ever seen a Haka performed by the All Black Rugby team. They always perform the haka before each match, and it's very clearly a challenge to the rival team.
A haka is not always a challenge, though. In Maori culture, it is often performed as a gesture of love and respect. That's certainly the case here. The haka was organised by groom Ben's best man and was a way of honouring both the couple and their culture.
The performance was captured by Westone productions, and Ben shared the clip on his Facebook page a few days after the wedding. In just three days, it went viral and received more than 22 million views. Its popularity seems to be because it was shared on another page called I'm Proud To Be Tongan. It should be noted that Tongans and Maori are not the same, but their cultures have similar traditions, so the share is understandable.
However, it's not the cultural aspect that has captured the hearts of viewers worldwide. It's the beauty, emotion and obvious joy of the bride and groom that brings a tear to your eye. Weddings are always emotional, but the haka has taken this one to another level.
If you think it's odd for a haka to be performed at a wedding, you're wrong. In an interview with a magazine afterwards, Ben and Aaliyah explained, "For Polynesians and Maori's, a traditional haka is usually performed in their traditional language and has different aspects to it, depending on where they are from. We both have some Maori Ancestry in our families."
Ben's best man began the haka as the finale of his speech. It was planned in advance, so it wasn't a surprise for the couple, but they didn't know who would join in. Pretty much the whole reception joined in, including the bridesmaids, groomsmen and guests. Ben and Aaliyah even took part as this is an integral part of their culture.
It must have been incredible to witness in person and will be a part of their special day that they can look back on with love and gratitude. Check it out now.