Teen performs emotional haka at mom's college graduation in honor of her achievement
People have collectively gotten something in their eyes.
Graduating college while also raising children is a huge accomplishment and should be celebrated. One family sat waiting for their mom to walk across the stage to receive her bachelor's degree when her teenage son decided to honor her. The teen stood up in the wide aisle between folding chairs right before the announcer called his mother's name.
It was clear that his focus was on the woman that raised him when he started the familiar call and stance of the haka. He stood alone in his suit while his sister, who was filming their mother getting ready to walk, noticed her brother starting the dance.
The haka is a ceremonial Māori dance generally performed in groups to represent pride, unity and strength according to New Zealand's official website. Thanks to the internet, the passionate dance has been seen all over the world, from players doing it at sporting events to people sending off loved ones at the airport.
The haka is performed in all sorts of contexts, including celebrations, so it feels beyond fitting that this son would honor his mother in this way. You could feel the pride in his voice, and the graduation halted while he finished, with the master of ceremony waiting to call his mom's name. Even others in the crowd joined in singing the ceremonial chant with him in support.
In the text overlay, his sister wrote, "My mom graduating her bachelor in social work & my little brother getting up to Tautoko the best way we know how."
"Tautoko" means to support, prop up, verify, advocate, accept, agree, according to the Moāri dictionary. Support and propping up is certainly what this proud son did. Thankfully, it was caught on video so others could take part in his pride.
Currently, the video posted by Shay Ana on TikTok has over 4.3 million views, and commenters shared their support, with one person writing, "He didn't care what anyone thought. He was going to pay his respects to his mother."
"Whenever I see these done I always get so emotional! They are so powerful. What a beautiful part of your culture," another wrote.
See the moving tribute below:
Very proud of you mum 4 very long and hard years finally paid off!! 💯