Wedding haka highlights Auckland couple's diverse backgrounds
A Maori groom and his Kurdish bride have celebrated their multi-cultural relationship with a specially-choreographed haka at their wedding.
Auckland couple Jackson and Jennifer Tamaariki were married at Orakei Bay in Auckland on April 2, after dating for five years.
The wedding incorporated elements of Kurdish and Polynesian culture, reflecting the couple's diverse backgrounds.
Jennifer arrived with her family in New Zealand from Syria in 1995, while her husband, 24, was of Maori, Cook Island Maori, and Tahitian heritage.
Jackson's iwi is Ngati Whatua/Tainui on his mother's side and Ngati Kahungunu/ Nga Puhi on his father's side.
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"I think it's quite uncommon for a Maori man to be married to a Kurdish woman," Jennifer, a 25-year-old criminal defence lawyer, said.
"It was important for our families and for us, and allowed our guests an insight into the cultural dynamics of our relationship."
A video posted on YouTube shows the bride and groom take the dance floor to the sound of Cook Island drums, before standing aside for a group of men, some brandishing taiaha, to perform an "original" haka.
Jackson, who works as a technician on the set of Shortland Street, performed the movements back to the group.
"It was very emotional," Jennifer said.
The performance was choreographed by one of Jackson's closest friends Takoha Ropati, and was comprised of hakas from the regions the performers hailed from, Jennifer said.
Later in the evening, guests were treated to traditional Kurdish dancing.