Nearly 7,700 men, women and children of all ages assembled in New Zealand’s Rotorua district on Saturday to break a world record for the largest Haka dance, a Maori ceremonial war dance, often performed by the country’s rugby teams in celebration. They bested the previous record held by France since 2014, in which 4,028 people took part. While the New Zealand record has yet to be ratified, organisers were sure that they had “smashed the French out of the park”.
The Guinness World Records officials had to use grid lines, ticket scanning and a drone to count the number of dancers, and also to ensure that everyone present actually danced. Event MC Paul Hickey said, “If you’re scratching your nose or eating a pie, you won’t be counted.” However, it will be months before the event will be recognised as a world record.
The event was organised by the International Rugby Club as part of its series celebrating the All Black Maori Lions team, which frequently performs the war dance, ahead of their match versus the British and Irish Lions on Saturday night. However, the dance might have taken a lot out of the team as the Maori Lions lost 10-32.