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The Kailao is a Tongan cultural dance.


It is usually performed at public and private ceremonies. The men, bearing stylized clubs (pate kailao), dance in a fierce manner that emulates fighting, all to the accompaniment of a beaten slit drum or a tin box, which sets the tempo. Unlike most other Tongan dances, the kailao is performed without singing. The sequences of movements to be performed by the group are called by the lead dancer, who will give the name of the sequence, then will signal when to do it. The sequences can involve mock combat between dancers, changes in formation, and tricks involving the pate kailao themselves. The dance displays the dancers' discipline, obedience and skill with their weapon. A similar Rotuman dance, also derived from the 'Uvean original is similarly titled "ka'loa".

The Sipi Tau, performed by the 'Ikale Tahi, the national rugby union team before each match, is a form of Kailao.

Song: Sipi Tau[edit]

Tonga College students performing a kailao for the King's 70th birthday (1988)


Taua ke Tau (Leader)
Teu lea pea tala ki mamani katoa
Otua mo Tonga ko hoku tofia
Ke ilo e he sola mo e taka
Ko e aho ni te u tamate tangata,
haafe mo e tautua
Kuo hu hoku anga tangata.
Ei e ! (Leader)
Ei e ! (Leader)
Te u peluki e molo mo e foueti taka,
Pea ngungu mo ha loto fitaʻa
Ngungu! (Leader)
Ngungu! (Leader)
Ko Tonga pe mate ki he moto (Leader)
Teu mate ai he oku loto
Aye ay (Leader)

English Translation by Sione Ngahe[edit]

Aye, ay! Aye, ay!
I shall speak to the whole world
The Sea Eagles is famished unfurl.
Let the foreigner and sojourner beware
Today, destroyer of souls, I am everywhere
To the halfback and backs
Gone has my humanness.
Hey! hey! Aye ay! Zap.
Maul and loose forwards shall I mow
And crunch any fierce hearts you know
Ocean I drink, fire I dine
To death or victory my will is fine.
That's how Tonga dies to her motto
To her motto Tonga gives all.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]