Warning: This video will warm even the coldest of hearts.
How do you celebrate 10 years of a loving relationship with a child and a second baby on the way? Let Tama Hata teach you how.
The University of Waikato lecturer pulled out all the stops to surprise his partner with a gender reveal and incredible haka proposal, all on the weekend they celebrated 10 years of life together.
Hamilton-based Tama Hata managed to surprise Te Waimaarino Patena and the couple’s daughter, three-year-old Te Aroha, with a trip to Queenstown where they were to do all the things tourists do, and some things not many tourists get to do at all.
After a few adrenaline-filled hours with the gondola, the luge and the sights, Hata found the courage to go ahead with his plan of giving his partner the best proposal he could dream of, honouring both his ancestors and the couple’s future together.
As an added surprise, and since the couple had agreed Hata was going to be the one telling Patena the gender of their second child, he decided to combine both events in Queenstown.
After their scan a couple of weeks ago, Patena asked her partner to tell her the gender of the baby another time. They hadn’t found out Te Aroha’s gender until she was born, which meant newborn Te Aroha wore a lot of neutral tones. Her parents were looking forward to picking some more gender-specific pieces this time.
“She had no idea how it was all going to happen,” Hata told the New Zealand Herald.
A nervous groom-to-be hatched a plan. The day of the scan, he had to fly to Santiago, in Chile, for a work conference. He returned to New Zealand and straight into work while trying to arrange the surprise break in Queenstown.
“The night before we flew, I gave her a card and a packing list, so she knew what sort of clothes to pack,” he said, adding the card mentioned she needed warm clothes.
“I packed our baby girl’s things and got it all in the car in on Sunday morning. We got in and drove. She thought maybe we were going to Taupō or Rotorua, but then she saw we were heading to Auckland.”
Patena grew confused. “You know I don’t really like Auckland,” she told him from the passenger seat. That’s how he knew his plan of keeping it a surprise was working.
“Don’t tell me we’re staying in a hotel in Mangere,” she added as Hata drove through South Auckland. Eventually, inside the domestic terminal of Auckland Airport, Hata told his girls where they were going.
They arrived in Queenstown and got straight into sightseeing. They stayed at one hotel the first night, and still Hata was acting like it was just a fun getaway for the family. The following day, after breakfast, the luge and a nice lunch, the family checked into the Hilton hotel, overlooking the lake.
The hotel manager and staff knew all about Hata’s plan and worked hard to make sure it was executed to perfection. Patena was booked in for a massage, then met her partner and daughter outside by the lake. Hata ordered her a mocktail, an apple juice for Te Aroha and a beer to calm his nerves. Nearby, a waiter had Hata’s phone, ready to film the big moment.
With the help of a couple of friends, Hata prepared a box of blue items to gift to his partner. With the help of little Te Aroha, she gently opened the box and found out they are about to have what they both dreamt of having: a boy to play with their little girl.
And then it happened.
Hata shook the nerves and, with 10 years of happy days together, a second child on the way, it was time.
He wasn’t sure what he was going to say in his haka. He composed it straight from the heart, as his words echoed across the lake. He could tell a crowd of tourists was gathering. (It can’t be seen in the video, but they’re all there, mesmerised by Hata’s voice.)
He focused on his words, his message, and the relief to see he’d given his partner the proposal she deserved.
“She was mind-blown,” he said.
“She’s a shy person so when I started my haka she was looking at me like she kind of wanted me to tone it down, you know. But then she started hearing the words.”
You can see from the words, transcribed below, that no one would ever want anyone to tone that down.
In his own original haka, he tells his bride-to-be to come to him, to his heart. He tells her he’ll never leave her, that they’ll forever be united as one. For those brief seconds, Queenstown, with its snowy peaks and crystal blue lake, became the epicentre of love.
Little Te Aroha watched dad intently, then hugged her parents and tried to help with the ring. “I wanted her to be involved in it all,” the proud dad said.
Nervous, Hata ended up putting the ring on the wrong finger but that’s only going to stay as a funny anecdote in an otherwise remarkable one-of-a-kind proposal.
Oh and, obviously, she said yes.
The couple plans to get married by the end of next year, with their little boy next to them.
Who knows what kind of powerful haka the groom will have ready for the day.
TAMA HATA’S HAKA PROPOSAL
The beginning is called a manawawera, it talks about the chief (who was a war lord) of the area Hata comes from, who goes by the name of Tūtāmure of the East Coast Ōpōtiki region of Te Whakatōhea.
Te tangata nāna i noho whakarua kārangaranga te muri ka tutū ngā tamatea o te moana. Ko au, ko au tēnei ko Tūtāmure!
E hine whakarongo mai rā ki ahau,
Whakarongo mai rā ki Te Waiwhakaruku e kukume mai nei i ahaha.
O chosen one listen to me,
Listen to Te Waiwhakaruku
The man pulling you in.
Tuia koa te rangi e tū iho nei,
Tuia koa te papa e takoto mai nei.
Kā noa mai ki Rangimatanui rā ia te whakapai.
Let us bind the sky above
To the earth below.
The approval of my ancestors at Rangimatanui brightens up the night sky.
Awhi mai ō ringa ki taku manawa,
E kore au e tukuna koe kia tahanga mōwai.
Hold my heart tight and I will never leave you desolate.
Haramai ki ahau ki Te Waiwhakaruku,
Haramai ki ahau ki taku manawa!
Mō ake, ake, ake tonu atu e.
Tuia, tuia, tuituia!
Come to me, to Te Waiwhakaruku,
Come to me, to my heart!
Always and forever,
Binding us together.