Sunday, 17 December 2017

Maori group remembers Václav Havel, sings Czech anthem

ČTK |
6 October 2017

Prague, Oct 5 (CTK) - A Maori group in traditional costumes with tattooed faces and spears sang the Czech anthem in the Prague Crossroads centre on the birth anniversary of late president Václav Havel on Thursday.

A man from the dancing group said he was half Maori and half Czech. "My father is from Brno. My name is Frantisek," he said.

"Vaclav Havel was our friend, and this is why we came. He visited us. He was the first Czech who represented Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic and established relations with the Maori people. He understood that it is good to be open to traditions," said Frantisek, which is the Czech version of Francis.

Havel (1936-2011; in office 1989-2003) got acquainted with the Maori culture and traditions in New Zealand in the spring of 1995. He appreciated New Zealand politics and its understanding for minorities.

On Thursday, the Maori group attended the awarding of the Vision 97 annual prize to American solid-state physicist Nathaniel David Mermin and they listened to a lecture on quantum physics and philosophy.

Frantisek said the dance group wants to remember the Czech Republic on the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, or the fall of the country's communist regime, celebrated on November 17.

He said he would be among those, hopefully, more than 20,000 trying to break the world record in haka, the war dance of the Maori people, during which the dancers stick out their tongues, stomp their feet and yell to scare off the enemy. "We won't forget November 17. We will prey for peace in the country by our dance," he said.

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