Gingerbread Haka

BIANZ (Baking Industry Association of New Zealand) has inspired New Zealanders to take part in the NZ Bakery of the Year 2007 Campaign with Gingerbread Haka, a TV advertisement gone viral.

Gingerbread men in haka

The Bakery Industry Association of New Zealand annually runs a competition for the top Baker of the year. Historically, this competition has solely been open to members of BIANZ and involved a rather complicated and lengthy application. This year BIANZ decided to change the competition from Baker of the year to NZ Bakery of the Year Competition, open the competition up to ALL bakeries, not just members of the BIANZ, and simplify the application process.


The NZ Bakery of the Year campaign was developed at recently formed Blackwood Communications Group (BCG) by executive creative director James Blackwood, art director Matthias May, copywriter Lil Cameron, account service team Ben Lightfoot and Roxana Siebert.

Promotion design and implementation/media Relations were developed at Pink Moose Marketing by Kathy Gieck and Susan Cresswell.

Animation was produced at Kangoo Animation under the direction of Karl Butler, with producer Shona Grundy, and technical backup by Cathy Sales. The soundtrack was provided by the Silverdale Rugby Club.

Viral Impact

The campaign was rolled out using a website,, (designed by Lupo), viral marketing using the Gingerbread Haka, direct marketing and instore promotional material and registration packs.

At last count there were 109 bakeries registered across New Zealand, approximately three times more bakeries than last year, and registrations are still trickling in (past the closing date). So far there have been 2,827 votes for bakeries, with many more to come before 31 August. The website has averaged 26170 hits a day since its launched in mid May.

The video was launched to bakeries on 6 June and the public on 5 July. The video is searchable on google taking up the first three search pages when searching for “gingerbread haka” and has featured on blogs and sites around the world including Facebook, Flicklife, Bebo, Myspace, YouTube,,,,,, the Internet Advertising Bureau,,,, Food industry sites, Rugby and sporting sites, dating sites, emigration sites, as well as personal and home web sites.

The video has been aired on television and radio including The Edge, MoreFM, Maori Television, TV3 News, The Crowd Goes Wild – Prime, Channel 9 (Australia), and Sky News.

Gingerbread men in haka

Words for the haka (traditional Maori war dance)

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!

Tenei te tangata puhuru huru
Nana nei i tiki mai
Whakawhiti te ra

A upane! ka upane!
A upane kaupane whiti te ra!


“Ka Mate” is a Māori haka composed by Te Rauparaha, war leader of the Ngāti Toa tribe of the North Island of New Zealand. Te Rauparaha composed Ka Mate as a celebration of life over death (Pōmare 2006) after his lucky escape from pursuing Ngati Maniapoto and Waikato enemies. He had hidden from them in a food-storage pit, and climbed back into the light to be met by a chief friendly to him – Te Whareangi (the “hairy man”).

“Ka Mate” is the most widely known haka in New Zealand and elsewhere because it has traditionally been performed by the All Blacks, New Zealand’s international rugby union team, immediately prior to test (international) matches.

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