Rotorua turned out in force for the giant haka - breaking the current record with 7700 people taking part.

While the Rotorua haka will have to be officially ratified, there was a buzz in the air at the Village Green following the five minute haka, led by Wetini Mitai-Ngatai and Eraia Kiel, on Saturday morning.


The Hits Paul Hickey was MC for the event and said he was proud of Rotorua.

"It was awesome seeing people getting out and doing something positive. It was a really moving experience, and being there among almost 8000 people was pretty cool ... We are one step closer to owning the Guinness World Record."

The 7700 people taking part were enough to break the current Guinness World Record of 4028 set in France, and an unofficial tally of 6200 set in Masterton. The haka had to be performed for five consecutive minutes to break the record.

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People practice before the official haka attempt. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
People practice before the official haka attempt. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Co-founder of the International Rugby Club, Tristan Tuckey, said it was an amazing feeling to have unofficially broken the record.

"We are so grateful to all the people who showed up, from Lions fans to locals. We were a little bit dubious [this morning] but people kept on streaming in ... We wanted to send a nice message of support to the Maori All Blacks."

He said the next step would be to collate the evidence, submit it and get the record confirmed.

"The process can take some months."

Martin Croft, Rotorua Lakes Council's major events co-ordinator, said it was a special event to be part of.

"It was great to have the opportunity with the Lions tour to do something like this. It was a great way to start the day."

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Mr Croft said he wanted to acknowledge every single local school that got behind the haka attempt.

"I can't thank the students and teachers enough, and all the volunteers."

The haka had to be performed for five consecutive minutes to break the record. Photo/Stephen Parker
The haka had to be performed for five consecutive minutes to break the record. Photo/Stephen Parker

Ngongotaha local Murray Turner said it was fantastic to have the opportunity to take part.

"I absolutely thought we were going to break it."

Dallas James said it was a "really good" experience to be part of.

"We were near the front. We came with family and friends, I think there were 15 of us, all having a good time."

Prior to the official attempt there was face painting available, live music, and mayor Steve Chadwick took to the stage to thank the British and Irish Lions for coming over.

Will Tione came from Mangakakahi with his family.

"We're here to be part of it. I've never been part of a world record before."

It wasn't just locals taking part, with Lions supporters in on the action.

Welshman Mike Williamson said he'd wanted to come on a Lions tour since 1971.

"It's a dream come true. Some friends got me some tickets."

He said he had never done a haka before.

"I've seen it done before in the centre of the stadium in Cardiff."