Karl Burrows: Biography highlights

Karl is founder and Managing Director of Hakaworks, a London based company which utilises tools from Maori culture to motivate, inspire and build teams and in doing so help people make deeper connections, build trust and embrace values. He also manages a performance and education company, Manaia, which he co-founded in 2004.

Known for:

Business Leaders
Sports Personalities

Full biography of Karl Burrows

About Karl Burrows

Karl believes that authenticity is the essence of leadership. But authenticity is far from simple because it means a high level of self-awareness, an understanding of how ego impacts our sense of identity and an ability to set ego aside. Being connected to your authentic self means you can respond to the demands and challenges of leadership from a deeper place, more connected to your core values and sense of self.

He is a New Zealander of Maori and European descent and utilises tools from his Maori culture to help people make deeper connections, build trust and embrace values leading to improved team performance. Karl has a corporate background as a lawyer and negotiator, and has an MBA from Cranfield University, but it is the teaching of haka (the pre-match ritual performed by the All Blacks) along with its implicit learnings and deeper meaning that has impacted audiences around the world over the last 15 years.


Karl’s presentation introduces audiences to the world of rugby and the mystique and power of the All Blacks. He shares how Maori culture, built on values of family, loyalty, humility and respect, has informed and inspired the All Blacks. How does the greatest sports team in the world consistently stay on top? It’s all about culture. Drawing inspiration from the All Blacks, Maori culture and business Karl’s presentation explores

  • Authenticity and humility –connecting to place, ancestors and family
  • Bravery– knowing your fear, finding the courage to let go, committing to action
  • Team / family – tight knit teams mean loyalty, respect and putting team before self
  • Purpose– how a compelling purpose galvanizes teams, meaning members will make personal sacrifices for the team

Haka Workshop

Karl, with the option of being joined by a team of haka trainers, additionally teaches haka in an interactive, enjoyable and accessible workshop so participants experience the ideas explored in his presentation:

  • Authenticity – haka means setting ego aside, digging deep within, igniting the spirit, sharing that energy with others.
  • Bravery– knowing risks, letting go of fear, taking action, commitment.
  • Team / family–unity, loyalty and respect – you’re not alone, you’re doing it together and supporting one another.
  • Purpose– Understanding purpose, channelling personal and collective energy to give shape to purpose.
  • Power– experience and express personal and group power through haka.


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Available for:

After Dinner Engagement

Watch Karl in action

1/1 videos
How haka can bring energy to your event and unify your team.
How haka can bring energy to your event and unify your team.
Agility - Global Integrated Logistics

You and your team's impact on our session in San Diego was immense and positive - I got great feedback from all of the participants, they found the cultural aspect of the event informative and interesting, and the underlying message of authenticity, bravery, unity, humility and purpose resonated with all of them'

Steve Whittingham
QIWI payment systems, Moscow

'An outstanding and powerful presentation and workshop that left a deep positive impression on everybody. Our business objectives were completely achieved, and new knowledge and bright memories came as a bonus.'

Sergey Solonin

"I wanted to write to you and say a massive THANK YOU for your presentation and workshop. It was such a powerful experience, one that really lifted the vibration of energy in the room. It was magical and helped form a strong bond between the team.'

Dean Arcan
Customer Experience Manager
Legacy - What the All Blacks can Teach us about the Business of Life

'A spine tingling, profound and unforgettable experience inspiring audiences at the deepest human level. Exploring identity and purpose and promoting a sense of presence of both body and mind, Karl and his team unite your people as one team. A genuine privilege to witness.'

James Kerr
Vistage Chair

'Karl Burrows talk and haka session is an exceptionally uplifting experience for all Great for team bonding and bringing people together in a way where everyone participates . However as, if not more, important is the how he talked of Maori culture and how so much of this has been embedded into the admirable winning approach of the All Blacks. The proof of the pudding was in seeing how 100 Vistage Chair Coaches, potentially sceptical, utterly loved the session!'

David Sheepshanks CBE

'I am confident in saying I have never felt so energised and alive during/after your session.'

Dave Collins
Customer Relations Manager

Karl's speaking topics

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