Current Affairs Discourse (CAD): ‘The Christchurch Massacre’

Cora Gaebel's picture

The H-Celebration network is deeply saddened by these tragic events and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends in their time of sorrow and loss.


We would like to hear your views on the Haka performance as a response to and in the aftermath of the tragic ‘Christchurch Massacre.’ You can start a scholarly discussion, write a report, personal scholarly narrative or a review. Please note that all writing must inform celebration, festivals, leisure, or some aspect of customary ceremonies, ritual experiences and celebrations. 


Tell us what you think about the Māori’s ceremonial Haka performance and how it responds to diverse experiences in the case of the ‘Christchurch Massacre.’ Thus, you could examine how the Māori are creating diverse perspectives and trajectories for the ceremonial Haka that is based on their embodied knowledge of ceremonies and celebrations. You could further demonstrate that the ceremonial performance can be expressed in different ways highlighting the importance of an occasion. 


You could also explore the Māori’s ceremonial Haka and how it relates to Bourdieu’s notion of habitus (1977, 1990) and, in particular, how the Māori’s embody the Haka and what it means to them. Thus, you could focus on the body as a site for the production of tacit knowledge - particularly, how life experiences can trigger embedded embodied knowledge.


Brief Guidelines 

All content should address and inform celebration, festival and leisure studies, as this not only coincides with the Journal of Festive Studies which seeks to focus on “festivities, including but not limited to holiday celebrations, family rituals, carnivals, religious feasts, processions and parades, and civic commemorations" but it also chimes with the main aim of the H-Celebration network that brings "together far-flung fields of celebration, festive, and leisure studies." At H-Celebration we aim to think along these lines: 

(1) how we develop consistency in our content that informs celebration, festival and leisure studies.

(2) we focus on the nature, relevance, context and appropriateness of content on our network.


Working along these lines is important to us to gain and maintain subscribers and keeping their interests by examining new and little-known perspectives. In addition, working within the margins of celebration, festival and leisure help us to remain focused in order to develop our area of interest.

Māori's ceremonial Haka as a response to the Christchurch Massacre echoes parallel ceremonial art traditions elsewhere in the world that have been used to critique and inform the public about current affairs. For instance, Chākkyār Koothu of Kerala, India is an art form that had its birth in the royal court, primarily as a form of jest. These royal jesters, called Chākkyār, used to point out defects in the royal administration and would also follow up on the corrective measures. It was not uncommon for the laity to point out particular problems to the Chākkyār, who would then incorporate an appropriate critique in the next performance. This art form is performed even today in Kerala with critiquing, often of a highly nuanced nature, the current social and political situations.

These kinds of recontextualizations of traditional practices to the present-day not only keeps these traditions alive but also makes them grow and diversify with a broadened outlook. It is also much easier and natural for the audience to respond to such adaptations.