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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why New Zealand do the Haka

Why New Zealand do the Haka

A week after seeing Wales stand up to and stare down the Haka, debate continues to flow about what is in fact the correct way to face the famous prematch ritual. Some have taken it one step further, questioning why it is that New Zealand are actually given the right to perform the Haka at all.

For years individuals have moaned that it gives the All Blacks a huge advantage over the opposition, and that it should be stopped as it is quite simply unfair.

The reality of the situation is that it is, first and foremost, a tradition. It's also a hugely valuable piece of showmanship that goes along way towards adding to not only the mystique of the All Blacks, but towards the charisma of rugby itself.

Opinions are mixed surrounding the issue, as always, and earlier in the year we even heard Australian commentator Phil Kearns mumble on a live broadcast Get rid of it.

An English journalist wrote in a well known newspaper last week that the Haka has become tirelessly irksome.

"Both rugby codes have been subjected this month to a tedious basinful of this now charmless eye-rolling, tongue-squirming dance. Now the haka is an over-rehearsed, over-choreographed production number with a nasty malignant edge to it," he added.

All Black legend Buck Shelford has rubbished those comments, saying that the use of the war dance is appropriate as a game of rugby is like a war. It is a sign of respect to the opposition after all.

"In our culture the haka is about pride and mana and it's about a challenge to the opposition."

Sure, there are always critics of the Haka, and of how it is performed by certain individuals, but there is no doubt that it is not only a bone tingling challenge to the opposition, but a fantastic marketing tool for the sport of rugby. Its something special that has the power to intrigue and engage even those whove never seen the sport before.

The recent Munster and All Black clash drew in record viewers, and last weeks Welsh standoff will go down in rugby folklore as a historic moment for our sport.

As explained by former All Black fullback Glen Osborne, it is simply about the tradition and the challenge. As a team, how you face it is up to you. Kick a ball around like David Campese, get up close like Richard Cokerill, or stare them down like the Welsh.

The fact of the matter is, the Haka is here to stay, so lets enjoy the confrontation from both sides, and rather than criticise it lets try understand and embrace it.

Time: 04:35

Posted at 12:23 pm | 70 comments

The Welsh response to the All Blacks Haka

Munster vs the All Blacks - Haka & tries

Viewing 70 comments

tehsniper November 29, 2008 1:18 pm

Basically the haka is a bunch of guys yelling "we are going to cut your throat" to the other team. with gestures that should never be seen on a rugby field.and the opposition should accept it without even replying or they are called disrespectful.it's a shame, even more so as only four teams in the world have the god given right to insult the opposition at each and every match.well done the welsh, french and irish to have stood up to it and shown the balls the IRB won't allow.

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Benson November 29, 2008 1:31 pm

OMG did you even read the article or watch the video?? how old are you tehsniper? How is the haka an insult??! And why are you, as a rugby fan, so offended by it? Sure, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but come on man - it's a part of the history of the game. It's not something new - like cheerleaders or elv's.

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bignon November 29, 2008 1:36 pm

tehsniper here you are again with your insulting posts. im french and i love the haka, it is a tradition and gives a lot of drama to the game. im sure people like you who don't know a thing about rugby have known it thanks to the haka. every other sport is jealous of it. you should go support soccer

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Jeff November 29, 2008 1:55 pm

I have no problem with the haka per se--its quite the spectacle and is something I'd love to see in person.I guess my only problem is that while one team gets to hear its national anthem, the all blacks get their anthem, and then do a native war dance. Just seems a bit lopsided.If the all blacks want to do the haka instead of their anthem, then I'd be all for it.Alternatively, every other union gets its own dance to do. Imagine it: the irish jigging, the Scots reeling,the English dressing up like Victorians and waltzing. The welsh...um...being welsh...

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Jeff November 29, 2008 1:56 pm

At risk of sounding totally ignorant--if there are well known traditional welsh dances, link to them and I will happily educate myself.Apologies to RD mods.

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Cheyanqu November 29, 2008 2:14 pm

Thanks RD.Any chance you can pick up the Richard Cockerill challenge on RD? I've looked on Youtube and cannot find it.Haka has a place in rugby and deserves to be there, moreso than cheerleaders and de-powered scrums ;).That aside, if the haka has a place, so does the response. I think that teams "should" be respectful to it. However, it is up to them, and reflects on their team.If Buck Shelford truly believes that rugby is war, then "All's Fair in Love and War", and the ABs must be prepared for the responses.... even if you must give up your left nut.If you truly want to escalate rugby to the status of war, then don't bitch and moan when various Latin teams eye-gouge, grab this and that. The French consider it war, and play accordingly.

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canrugby November 29, 2008 4:16 pm

the all-blacks get to do their little dance... ok thats fine.but why should the other team be REQUIRED to turn away first? i.e. the Welsh challenge

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me November 29, 2008 4:20 pm

yeah im tired of ppl complaining about the lopsided advantage NZ (& tonga, samoa, & fiji) has over other teams due to their respective dances... If your country thinks that its unfair then create your own dance... but good luck not getting laughed at.. and actually getting fired up from it.. it would take something pretty intense to compare to the haka... so what's this come down to? jealousy? get over it, get pissed off to fire yourself up if you have to.. and go play some rugby!

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Anonymous November 29, 2008 4:28 pm

hes psychic. prediction win by at least 25. score 6-32!

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grote boze aap November 29, 2008 4:51 pm

I find it sad how Ali Williams is allowed to do spasticated gestures before and after the Haka =(When non-maori do that it's just funny and awkward

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Third Centre November 29, 2008 5:02 pm

With the greatest of respect to Buck Shelford, a true great, the likes of which we will never see again, what a stupid, boneheaded thing to say ! Equating rugby with war is just ridiculous.I love the haka and this video was great but the hypersensitivity shown by some Kiwis is hard to deal with. Especially considering how some Kiwi posters on this site commented on Martin Johnson's insult to the Irish president

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Frenchy November 29, 2008 5:10 pm

I like the haka. It does bring some drama to the game, however, other teams should stand up to it i.e. like the welsh and french. I think in that respect, it equals things out and the all blacks (nonu) shouldn't be little bitches about it.

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Anonymous November 29, 2008 5:45 pm

I'm a kiwi. What a load of shit. Just play rugby

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Anonymous November 29, 2008 5:59 pm

how about fuck u jeff, ur obviously an english ignorant prick! my view is that let the kiwis do wat they want but they shudnt b able 2 get an advantage due to it and intimidate the oppo n rare themselves up! i was at the millenium last week n thort wat we did was brilliant stand up n show we r willin 2 fight! also im so glad wles won and england got thumped again tday! brilliant day

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MikeyB November 29, 2008 6:00 pm

Glen Osbourne isn't the smartest cookie in the pack (search for him on lion red sports cafe, classic), but he did get the point across I suppose. It's tradition, take it however you want, have a cry about it or say you disagree with it, but it's gonna happen. If the ABs weren't so dominant it wouldn't be a problem. Where are the complaints about tonga, fiji, .. the pacific islanders haka's? What it comes down to in my view is searching for a scape goat after years of getting an ass-whopping by the All Blacks.Unfortunately in the land of the long dark cloud there seems to be an abundance of (self)haters too.Rugby related: Excellent tour, to have no tries scored against them is insane.

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felix November 29, 2008 6:49 pm

mikeyb - i totally agree. no-one comments on the islander team 'gaining an advantage' through their pre-match war dances - mainly because they always get beaten by the NH teams. then the ABs roll up and destroy everyone in their path and some sore-loser, jealous that the pacific nations have such an awesome heritage, tries to pin it on the 'advantage' they get from doing the haka. if you are an international player that gets intimidated by it then you should probably retire because you clearly don't have the sack required to play at the top level. i'm a kiwi and i love the haka - it always makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. at the same time though, i don't care what other teams do to neutralise or respond. i loved what the welsh did - it added to the tension immeasurably - and i was disappointed when nonu said what he did about the welsh not showing respect. it's great when the other island nations face-off and lay down their own challenge. it's an awesome display of mana and culture - maybe england could reply by sitting down and drinking tea...in my opinion, teams and commentators should be allowed to disrespect it all they like - i really don't care - the ABs will probably kick ass anyway.

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Angus November 29, 2008 8:24 pm

I think there is going to be more moaning. At England vs New Zealand today as they were doing the haka the crowd were singing swing low.

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Don November 29, 2008 9:03 pm

Personally, it's just as much as a tradition as singing the national anthem before games...it's just the way it is.Folks should really get off that Nonu's comment...I didn't agree with it at all. and I don't agree that anyone should stop the haka at all...I'm fine without the kapa o pango without the throat slicing...fair enough...but taking away the whole haka will break my heart terribly.It's years of tradition there, every pacific island does it...it's a pre-game ritual...folks should get with the program and get over it....challenge it if u must, but don't take it away.

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Jordan November 29, 2008 10:03 pm

its a traditionit shoudlnt be brokenits good to watch aswelland why do people complain about unfair advantage?the answer : you cant take losingif your team are a rugby team then they play rugby and not worry about the challenge the opposition lays down, just get on with the job at hand.its possible to show respect for a tradition but still not let if affect your performance.the players should be thinking about the game, not the prematch build or challenge layed downand i know half of it is a psychological game but if you just accept the challenge you can gain the psychological edge by proving in those vital first few minutes your not afraid.

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Jordan November 29, 2008 10:09 pm

being welsh, im glad we stood up to it, but at the end of the day class took over and the all blacks showed why they are the best

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billybob November 29, 2008 10:23 pm

the haka's great!!i dont see how it gives NZL an advantage, they would be the best regardless.But i would love an allowance for countries to respond if they want like wales did...That was beautiful to watch

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robert November 30, 2008 12:43 am

I think most rugby fans of any country like the haka. But starting with the 1884 NZ side's visit to Australia and for decades after, it was only performed before matches away from the NZ mainland. Only since 1987 has it been performed before all matches, and with the great increase in the number of tests being played and the media coverage, I think a certain amount of over exposure has set in. This must be irritating to those who have little time for the ritual and who are entitled to their view .. and I think NZers need to accept that and not be too precious about the whole thing. It's terrific theatre, grounded in real tradition, but don't weigh it down with too much baggage about war and don't impose rigid ideas about how to respond because there doesn't seem to be any.

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Anonymous November 30, 2008 12:59 am

looks like the wheels on the chariot have well n truely come off! love it! celts 4eva, english never!

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Cobine November 30, 2008 2:29 am

Australians do Waltzing Matilda when playing at home? Any complaints?

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sunny November 30, 2008 6:46 am

I don't really get it....no one's discussing about what fiji, tonga and samoa are doing - that's their culture .... what about "waltzing mathilda"? actually it's a scottish song originally.what about "swing low, sweet chariot"?it's actually an american spiritual.tha haka is an old tradition - and it has over 100 years of tradition in all blacks-rugby.keep it!

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Anonymous November 30, 2008 9:56 am

The haka had been preformed for 114 years, not matter how many people complain it will not go away.Gs that was a funny link i liked #4, #10 and #13As for the responses to the haka,I am a kiwi and i find the responses to the Haka very pleasing and entertaining to watch, not sure if anyone has mentioned this but did anyone see the rugby league world cup final? Kiwis vs Kangaroos, thought i might bring this up while on the subject of responses to the Haka, the kangaroos responded to the haka like the french did to the all blacks last year at the world cup. First time i've seen the kangaroos reply, ironically first time the kiwis ever won the world cup =P lol

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Anonymous November 30, 2008 10:00 am

Same person as above,Anyone remember when the All blacks were asked to do the Haka at half time? but they refused and did it in the changing rooms instead?I'm glad when they were asked to preform a second time in the changing room, they refused because the first time was for a special occasion for the opposing team, can't remember why, or what team, but doesn't really matter

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Zzzzz November 30, 2008 10:03 am

I think the discussions about the Haka have been the most active on here ever.Says a lot about modern rugby when the biggest debate it can create is about dancing and poking your tongue out.And rugby followers call football fans girly?

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Anonymous November 30, 2008 10:10 am

I personally quite enjoy the haka. Even as an englishman in the face of yesterday's blackwash.As a child it was one of the things that drew me into rugby in the first place. Granted, it is tradition but I dont think it can be justified purely because it it's traditional. That just poor reasoning in my mind.ONE thing that has irritated me over the past week is some of the ABs reactions to the Welsh staredown. I remember Nonu saying how upset he was by the whole episode.With all respect to Nonu as a world class player, he needs to sort his head out. Why does he or anyone else think its ok for NZ to perform a war dance at their opponents before every single match, face pulling and throat slitting included, but not think its ok for their opponents to stare it down?The haka has its special place in rugby, which is why they can perform it before every match but clearly this isnt enough for some people. These people need to come to grips with reality.

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Robert November 30, 2008 11:13 am

the haka is awesomebring on the 2009 trinationsspringbok fan

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Gary November 30, 2008 11:15 am

Let them do the haka, its a great piece of rugby tradition but god help those precious little bastards if they bemoan anyone for standing up to it.i mean every game richie mcCaw will drop his scrum cap on the half way line just so he has an excuse to wander over after the haka and stare down anyone who happens to be there, then a scotish player walked over to it nd stood there while he went to pick it up and a big deal is made. Wales wont turn away first and suddenly its insulting?i love the haka, i would never want to see it removed from rugby but for pete's sake if the All Blacks want their nice shiny little toy they can have the decency to keep it in the pram.

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Anonymous November 30, 2008 1:00 pm

Personally as a Kiwi I reckon the new Haka they do sucks. The throat slitting gestures are out of place, despite the BS that Piri Weepu and the boys claim what it symbolizes. Get back to the relatively simple Ka Mate and just play the f'ing game. Too many spankers whinging about this Haka, claiming it gives an unfair advantage. F OFF! See how the Welsh faced it and check their halftime score... they just burned out later on. Get on and play the game! It is here to stay as part of tradition and what makes this game unique globally. PS: Ma'a Nonu's comments were dumb (but probably he was saying what Henry asked him to). No red blooded man is going to back down in front of a Haka. Stand up and let them know you are there for business. Good on the Welsh!

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rugby fan November 30, 2008 2:56 pm

why is people looking at the haka like it's anything harmful to the opponents or the fans watching the game, the haka has existed long before rugby and it is an honour for the other team to face it as a sign of "im getting ready to face you" and NOT "we are going to cut your throat"people should really do some research before posting anything of their comments

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Jeroen K November 30, 2008 6:54 pm

First of all, I can understand Tehsniper. The things they actually say aren't that friendly, and if you would say them in English during a match, you would get a yellow card. Second, doing the haka is the worst hypocrisy I've ever seen in any sport. In NZ, Moari are openly treated like garbage, but suddenly in rugby they are 'sacred' and 'mystique'... The only hakas I want to see are from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, wich actually mean something and don't have white guys in it trying to be Moari and end up looking uterly stupid. (I'm white by the way) My advice, don't get rid of it, just ignore it...

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Jeroen K November 30, 2008 7:01 pm

PS, rugbyfan, maybe you should do some research. They're not only saying that they're gonna cut som throats, they actually do the GESTURE of cutting a throat during the haka.

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italianscrummy November 30, 2008 7:43 pm

i do not think the real topic here is the AB haka or any other dance in general. I believe the issue is what has been built around it by the ABs themselves (i.e. Ma'a Nonu), who see it as something of Untouchable, that no one can confront or face up to.That is the part that pisses me off, the bitching and moaning the ABs bring forward when some teams (like wales, ireland or france in the RWC) decide to face them and confront them during this pre-match ritual, psyche-up or tradition (call it what you want).on the other hand, the responses have to be worthy to be called like so.Not like Italy in the RWC or blaring loud music from speakers during the haka (I'm italian by the way;))in brief:The haka is (rightfully) here to stay. Let's do our best to confront it and stand up to it. But you ABs realize you are not Untouchables.

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Anonymous November 30, 2008 8:26 pm

I'll respect it when they can win a world cup. . .till them it's another tribal war dance the states are full of them(on reseverations)

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Jon December 01, 2008 12:46 am

I find the Haka extremely boring, and utterly unnecessary. The fact that is a tradition is completely immaterial to its value in the game, many things that are tradition are done away with because they offer nothing of value, and consequently the Haka should be done away with. Visually as a spectacle also it is fairly impotent it's a fairly static dance with no real intricate movement which renders it irksome, and above all it's very camp. As professional rugby players the All Blacks rarely have had the practice and consequently talent to perform it well, frequently is it out of time and the movements seam forced. I do concede that it is performed with a lot of passion and intensity but arguing that those qualities some how make it a valid spectacle is a faulty syllogism. However I feel that I may be going too far along the lines of an artistic critique, and that I am sounding rather pretentious.On the other salient point, I dont see how it is intimidating to the opposition, there seams to be not logic to that argument, the Haka doesnt give any particular advantages of speed, strength and skill and so surely that all blacks are no more intimidating as a prospect as they would be without the Haka. And if they can't prepare fully prepare themselves mentally for the match them I doubt that they would have even have got to that stage in the competitive world of New Zealand rugby.It does have one advantage though; it means I have longer to get my self a nice cup of tea before the match because the National Anthems, something a dislike more than the Haka, sometimes aren't long enough.

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Ted M December 01, 2008 2:08 am

Jeroen K said In NZ, Moari are openly treated like garbage.you are ignorant

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granite December 01, 2008 2:10 am

A few points:1. I find it disturbing the vast difference in understanding and opinion between the current NZ players and staff (Henry and Nonu) and past players (and my NZ Maori friends).2. There is a provision in match schedules for the opposition to reply to the Haka. A short while ago, Australia actually used the time for a quick warm up (they hadn't been allowed on the field until the start of the game, and they were canned by the media). I read about a Wales vs NZ game in 1905 where Wales responded by singing "Land of my Fathers" which reportedly everyone found added to the atmosphere and excitement of the game.3. I saw in the Eng vs NZ game, the crowd was singing "Sweet Chariots" DURING the haka. If anything, I would have thought that to be disrespectful. I would have LOVED to see the english wait till after the haka, THEN sing in unison in response. As a neutral (Aus), I would have found that the most stirring.

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Anonymous December 01, 2008 8:38 am

jero.s.en k knows f--k all about nz or us moaris and the way we are treated in this country or our traditions. Maybe you need to do some reserach of your own before you post anymore comments.p.s. I gathered you were a white guy.p.s.s DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET "WHITE MOARIS"

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SPRINGBOK December 01, 2008 8:47 am

I say you can keep it or get rid of it. It doesnt matter. We as Springboks will not be offended by it. I respect your tradition and will never say you must remove it. like the springboks emblem whom is always in the crosshair in our country, we understand what you are talking about. But do not think that this war dance makes any difference, it is just another motivation to rub an all blacks face in the mud......

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Jeroen K December 01, 2008 11:20 am

I gathered my information on a tv-documentary where indigenous people as well as 'english' New-Zealanders were speaking. I could actually hardly believe my eyes and ears, the things they said and did. As a Maori it was nigh impossible to get a GOOD job, and they were banned from certain places and gatherings. People were openly calling them lazy and dirty. One Maori compared it even with the Apartheid in SA. I don't see how I am ignorant when I get my information from a documentary unless the docu itself was complete bogus, wich I seriously doubt. Anyway, I stick to my point of view, don't miss-use Moari culture for your own good if you can't stand it otherwise. PS, I don't think the original Maori's were white, no...

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Andy December 01, 2008 1:49 pm

Show the richard cockerill challange

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Anonymous December 01, 2008 5:21 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_WEP9ZkpS4now if this could really happen...

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Gongshow December 01, 2008 8:19 pm

Wow, when did everyone become pussies? So the All Blacks make a gesture to cutting someone's throat? So? Man up, this is a tough sport, I don't think any rugby player would be put off by seeing that. The Haka, and the various other tribal dances enjoyed by Fiji, Tonga and Samoa are brilliant pieces of tradition. To claim that they should be removed because it "frequently is it out of time and the movements seam forced," is a stupid argument.Keep it, and to the people upset at Wales for standing up to it, get over yourselves. They responded to the challenge of the Haka, and beautifully so, its just a shame they were outclassed by the All Blacks' true advantage, skill

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Ted M December 01, 2008 11:57 pm

Jeroen K I haven't seen the doco so I can't answer for that but every multi-ethnic country has its social problems and has its dickheads who make it worse, NZ's the same. I lived there for a long time and had a lot of Maori friends and I can say that the Maori is respected in all parts of society and has success in all areas. I know that the many "white" people who have Maori blood are proud of it and you might be surprised that there is more Maori in the Haka than sometimes it looks.

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doos December 02, 2008 12:11 am

no one gives a shit about the haka.. everyone is bored of it... sick of seeing it every week now

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boomshanka December 02, 2008 12:33 am

Jeroen K "I saw something on the telly so thats how it is; i mean, Coronation St is real innit ?"Love these attacks on the haka... i'm sure it inspires the ABs to play harder longer stronger

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WHETU December 02, 2008 6:22 am

Dont beleave everything you see on tv jeroen k. I havnt seen that doco either so i cant say anything but ill say its old or a tad wrong.KEEP the haka if youz dont like it dont watch it.

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Jon December 02, 2008 10:33 am

In response to Gongshow I was my comments regarding the Haka being out of time and forced where not anything to do with the Haka being excluded from the game, they where merely a comment about the Haka as an ineffectual visual spectacle. And just to claim that it should be retained for the sake of tradition is and equally ill considered argument. Reiterating what I said earlier tradition is no reason to keep the Haka it should be judged upon its relative merits in the present. And the Haka is dull, unimaginative, repetitive and serves in no way to improving the game. however the argument that it is advantageous to New Zealand has little basis.

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Anonymous December 02, 2008 2:12 pm

Anybody who thimks the haka is overly aggressive, intimidating, bad form, unfair etc etc has clearly never played rugby. There is nothing better than seeing two sides face off before knocking seven shades of s**t out of each other and then shaking hands and having a beer after. This is the essence of rugby. if you can't handle it piss off and whinge about some other sport.

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Jeroen K December 03, 2008 11:32 am

Well, Coronation St can hardly be called a scientific program, can it? Anyway, I don't live in NZ so obviously I can't tell first hand, but situations may vary in certain regions. Not every region in SA was fond of Apartheid too you know, so it may be difficult to tell what the real situation is, even for NZ'ers. Anyway, I find these discussions very interesting, apart from the people who post comments only to be anoying or think they are cool by calling people names (reminds me of kindergarden). Well, as for the Haka, like I said, let them do it, and just ignore it.. I couldn't be bothered less actually, and I think that's the only good reaction there is to it. But they do play great rugby, and I'm a fan!

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Sim December 03, 2008 1:25 pm

I have no pronblem with the Haka, tradition as it is. but to cite one of the reasons for maintaining it being because it is a merketing tool seems to fly in the face of what it stands for. the haka is a challenge to the opposition, it should not be used to squeeze more money out of the game.

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Anonymous December 03, 2008 5:59 pm

to be honest i dont think many people have a problem with the "haka" or any war dance before the game, what i think people dont like is that it seems no matter what teams or fans do there is always people shouting "thats disrespectful" when in fact no one is obligated to show the haka any kind of respect period.

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Dave December 03, 2008 7:10 pm

kiwis do the haka because they're retarded, to be honest the haka is a 1 minute 30 second of your life they should stop doing it and I don't give a shit about it's significance, it's lame all together

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robert December 04, 2008 4:14 am

From an article by Huw Turner @ Scrum.com: "... Dr Pita Sharples, reported in the New Zealand Herald on the day of the England v All Black Test. Sharples is one of the co-leaders of the Maori Party, the Minister of Maori Affairs and an acknowledged expert in the haka and other Maori protocols. He was reported as having 'applauded the silent treatment the Welsh dished out last weekend.' He added, 'We really respect that ... it was a very Maori thing to do. The Welsh basically said this is our turf, you do your haka, but we won't move until you've retired, this is our land it was an excellent response'."I think most NZers would agree.

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fishboy December 05, 2008 6:48 am

Exactly! What Robert above and Pita Sharples said. What the Welsh did was AWESOME! We (ABs fans) loved it - I don't know anyone who wasn't electrified by that stand-off. And the way Wales came out storming in the first half. Fantastic stuff.I hate the way some idiot player/coach/commentator's remarks after the fact are always magnified into 'what all Kiwis think'. We love it when the Haka is challenged - at least when it's done with some mana, passion and balls. All this whinging after the game is just pathetic and, you'll note, rarely (if ever) do the players themselves complain - it's all the fans or journalists whose team just got beaten.

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Anonymous December 08, 2008 12:22 pm

When I go to or watch a rugby match that is what I want to see "rugby" not war as Buck Shelford says. If I have to watch some dancing beforehand let it be Stade Francais's can-can ladies rather than some ugly Kiwi "sportsmen". Traditions are good but the Haka has evolved to be a choreographed show. The ABs' are representing NZ not Maouris.

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Anonymous December 08, 2008 12:22 pm

When I go to or watch a rugby match that is what I want to see "rugby" not war as Buck Shelford says. If I have to watch some dancing beforehand let it be Stade Francais's can-can ladies rather than some ugly Kiwi "sportsmen". Traditions are good but the Haka has evolved to be a choreographed show. The ABs' are representing NZ not Maouris.

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Anonymous December 09, 2008 7:55 pm

I love watching the Haka. If the english had a war dance i'd like to think we would perform it too (morris dancing just doesn't seem to give the same impression). My only problem with it is when the kiwi's complain that 'respect' is not shown because the opposition have either stood up (Wales, Cockerill, the Ireland slow march etc) or ignored it (Campese) or sneezed, or talked, or blinked... I remember BOD picking a blade of grass and throwing it in the air on the lions tour because he was told that it was the traditional way to accept the challenge and he had to answer claims of 'disrespect' from the NZ media in just about every news conference thereafter. What are they supposed to do then, stand by and be quiet like good little boys? These sort of stupid clams just give fuel to the ban the haka brigade and i don't think that most rugby fans want that. Interesting to see most Kiwi's on here seem to enjoy some sort of response though.

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Kevin, Meath December 09, 2008 8:20 pm

I'm a Welshman living in Meath, loved the haka from my first ever international ,Wales v NZ 1978, to the most recent. Thought the Welsh response was excellent and respectful as do ,from what I have read, most NZers. I would hate to see it stop. However if no team is allowed to do anything other than face it then back down, lest it be deemed 'disrespectful', it seems to give an unfair advantage and should be stopped at least outside NZ. teams should be allowed a respectful reply. I do find the 'throat cutting' slightly out of place but having said that if you read the lyrics of many anthems they will not actually be very PC.

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hanros July 08, 2010 6:11 pm

" if you didn't accept that challenge, it doesn't matter, because they will still going to come over and probably just kill you " hahahah

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alexandre July 13, 2010 9:17 am

I would say that not just NZ, but the whole world rugby would be unimaginable without HAKA. I personally started practising rugby 20 years ago, after watching haka on TV when 8 years old. I am from Georgia and by the way, our rugby league team has a greating dance like haka as well (called 13 Georgians).

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Tim July 26, 2010 12:46 am

I am going to add my own opinion here. Not only am I a New Zealander, but I am Maori, and have grown up learning Kapa Haka of which Haka are a part of. Now as far as the comments about Kapa o Pango the throat-slitting gesture is not offensive traditionally. In fact the pukana(sticking out of the tongue) is more offensive in meaning, tradtitionally, I am going to kill you and eat you. Nonetheless I do disagree with the use of the now removed gesture. As far as responses to the haka, I think they should be encouraged. Australia with Waltzing Matilda, Wales and France standing up, and even England's use of Swing Low are all good. A haka is a challenge of mana(pride) so it should not be discouraged for an opposing team to show their pride and let their mana manifest itself in some way. The 2008 League World Cup Final is the perfect example. However the offshoot is if your response is aggressive expect it to rile up the challengers as the Kiwis showed in that final. The only disrepectful thing I have seen done is to cross the half-way line. Traditionally the equivalent of doing this would lead to death. In rugby and league terms this generally is considered offensive and often leads to fights when done in NZ. Just offering my thoughts.

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Guy July 31, 2010 11:08 pm

The day we start to ignore our past and our traditions from any country is the day we start to loose our idenity as a people and as a nation.
Every country has some form of traditional start to every great match asking the All Black's to stop performing the Haka befour an international match would be like asking the U.S.A not play there national anthem befour the super bowl or the NBA finalls.
I would love to hear the response from that suggestion and i can pretty much guess how that would go down.
Enjoy respect and understand what you are seeing for we are all watching the same thing for a reason.

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Jake August 03, 2010 9:36 pm

The haka is certainly of traditional importance and the potential backlash of banning such a culturally based ritual is not even worth any sort of conceivable good that would result. Be men and stand up to it like the Welsh. That stone-cold stare is far more impressive and imposing than any dance, in my opinion. Play rugby.

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denning August 10, 2010 1:18 pm

haka is the most mysterious yet the most baeutiful about rugby and newzealand rugby to that and thts a fact that cant be isputed aganist. whos with me

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