We are Haka Works.
We imagine a better world through a movement of awakening using tools from Māori culture.
We’ve found universal truths in the values of our ancient indigenous people, a way of life based on connection – to ancestors, the land and community. When we acknowledge and honour where we come from, we open ourselves up to authentic communication, and awaken to bravery.
Meet the team
Karl Burrows, Founder of Haka Works
Karl Burrows is a haka performer, business trainer and renowned speaker on authentic leadership and team cohesion. Being of Māori and European descent, Karl is perfectly placed to share his indigenous knowledge and how it can transform corporate cultures.
Karl spent time with his hapu (family and tribe) in Taranaki where he learnt te reo (Māori language) and the songs, chants and haka of his tribal area. He trained and worked as a commercial lawyer in New Zealand and for large corporates in London. He has an MBA from Cranfield University, UK. He is passionate about sharing and helping bridge cultures to mutual benefit. Through his mother he comes from Taranaki and the tribes of Ngati Maru and Te Ati Awa. He also hosts our popular Haka Works Talks podcast. and has been a guest on The New P&L, UK Health Radio, and the Teambonding podcast.
May Lee Allen, Lead Facilitator
May Lee Allen has been involved in haka performing groups and Maori language since falling in love with both at school in Papakura, South Auckland.
She is passionate about sharing a culture that values people, community, heritage and the environment. May Lee has a unique ability to connect with diverse audiences, creating a safe and effective learning environment online or in-person. May Lee is trained in the performing arts and is a qualified teacher. She has taught in Maori medium education at Waiorea in Auckland, a youth psychiatric ward in London, and performing arts schools in NZ, UK and the UAE. She weaves her multiple skills together to bring knowledge to teams, delegates and leaders the world over.
Melanie Smith CBE, Advisory Director
Melanie is the CEO of Ocado Retail and of Māori descent, hailing from the Nga Puhi tribe. She is a shining example of the benefit of Māori knowledge within business.
Like Karl she is inspired by bridging Māori and corporate cultures to the benefit of both. She brings a wealth of strategic experience to the ongoing development of Haka Works and is passionate about the promotion of Māori values to the wider world. She has worked in a number of influential roles including, Marks & Spencers Strategy Director, Bupa Global Strategy and Marketing Director, and TalkTalk Chief Operating Officer. She was also a partner in McKinsey’s retail practice.
Tupoutama Paki, Lead Facilitator
Based in New Zealand, Tupoutama is a well-known television and radio presenter in Maori media. He was raised in a family dedicated to ensuring he was embedded and grounded in his Māori language and culture.
Tupoutama brings exceptional skills in engaging diverse audiences and an expertise in Māori culture which have led to him sharing haka around the world as a lead facilitator with Haka Works, primarily on the West Coast of the USA. His tribal affiliations are Ngati Tuwharetoa and Tainui. Tupoutama and his wife Raiha run Hinana Limited, a media and communications company creating documentaries and content for indigenous people, organisations and companies.
David Jones, Lead Facilitator
David Jones grew up immersed in Māori language, culture and haka with his family in Manutuke. David is well known in Māori media as a political commentator.
An exceptional communicator in Māori and English, David has appeared on stage around the world teaching and performing haka, recently leading Haka Works in Japan. David is Managing Director of Iwicomms, providing communications and strategic advice to Iwi (tribal) organisations. He worked as a lawyer for Kensington Swan and is former CEO for Hineuru Trust. His tribal affiliations are Rongowhakaata and Ngati Kahungunu.
Māori Performing Arts Company
Established in London in 2004, Manaia began as a way for our haka performers to share our Māori culture and the spirit of Aotearoa New Zealand with the world.
From this seed Haka Works was born. Today, Manaia performs globally – showcasing haka and traditional performances that energise and awaken at festivals, corporate events and private parties. For more information visit manaia.co.uk
We conduct ourselves in a way which honours the legacy of our ancestors, laying a foundation for the future.
Like the most successful teams, we put the well being of our tribe, our family first.
Humility & Respect
We show the utmost respect for our craft and for our clients. We act with professionalism and integrity in every encounter.
Love & Empathy
Ngakau nui means big hearted or generous of spirit. We embrace this sentiment – accepting and inclusive of all people.
The knowledge we share including haka is indigenous Maori knowledge and we believe that by sharing it we can help make the world a better place. We acknowledge the spirit of respect in which this knowledge was passed down to us by our ancestors. We ask that you treat this knowledge and haka respecfully too.
If you would like to use our haka for any purpose, please get in touch.