FanDuel - WFBC

November 26, 2006

Their own private haka: New Zealand played Wales on Sat, but talk about the match has been dominated by discussions about whether New Zealand were right to perform the haka in private before taking the pitch, or whether the Welsh Rugby officials were right to ask the All Blacks to perform the haka between anthems. The Welsh reasoning was that they were the "tangata whenua" (which means the traditional owners and protectors of the land), and so should have been given the chance to answer the challenge of the haka.

posted by Fence to other at 08:06 AM - 32 comments

I love seeing the haka performed, and the replay they showed on the telly from the dressing rooms didn't make up for not seeing it before the game kicked off. But at the same time I can see the Welsh side, I mean why should they let the ABs use the haka to try and intimidate the Welsh side without any comeback. The haka is a great part of rugby tradition and culture, but that doesn't mean that other teams have to accept what the All Blacks want simply because it has always been done that way.

posted by Fence at 08:09 AM on November 26

Q. How many of the All Black team members are actually of Maori descent? It strikes me that if very few can claim to be of Maori blood, then the haka is about as appropriate as it would be if the Washington Redskins did a traditional war dance before kickoff. "At the end of the day, haka is about spiritual preparation and we do it for ourselves." If a Christian or other deity were being were being invoked using inflammatory gestures, would people be as tolerant of it as well? Maybe it should be left in "the shed", and if not, I believe any and all teams have a right to respond however they wish, but I thought that the Welsh decision to use The National Anthem in response was in good taste.

posted by mjkredliner at 08:59 AM on November 26

Haka? Whats a haka?

posted by bronxbomber at 09:00 AM on November 26

Hint: type in "definition of haka" in your browsers search bar, then strike the enter key.

posted by mjkredliner at 09:14 AM on November 26

A lot of people here in Wales seem to be blaming the WRU, but I disagree. The ABs are in Wales, so why should they dictate the order of proceedings? It seems amazingly petty to issue a "challenge" and then start sulking when their hosts plan to issue a counter-challenge. Both sides are partly to blame, I expect. The WRU informed the NZRFU six weeks ago, so why wasn't it sorted out? Whatever... 75,000 wanted to see a Haka and a silly argument robbed them. But IMO, the international rugby world already panders too much to the All Black global brand. Richie McCaw is full of crap, it has nothing to do with "spiritual preparation" - it's about psyching out your opponent and getting an advantage. If the opponent wants to do a little psyching of their own, the ABs should shut up and deal with it.

posted by afx237vi at 09:23 AM on November 26

I don't think that being of Maori decent is all that important, they are al New Zealanders (lets ignore the issue of Samoans etc declaring for NZ) and as the haka is part of New Zealand's culture everyone from New Zealand is entitled to say that the haka is part of their culture. (wikipedia defn. of a haka). I'd agree with afx237vi, if the haka is intended as a challenge then why get so annoyed when someone meets that challenge? Wales were hosting New Zealand, it is their call.

posted by Fence at 11:37 AM on November 26

I love the haka (and all the similar pregame dances other sides use.) I'm not too worried about the Maori legitimacy of all of them either; the Maoris have a voice in New Zealand far louder and stronger than the natives in most other countries. The All Blacks come by it honestly, and use it in the manner in which it was originally intended. I think it's great. And because of that, I'm positive there's more to this story than we've heard. Doing the haka in your own dressing room, away from the other team and the fans, regardless of the reasons given, makes no sense, especially away from home. In fact, if I was a fan going to this match, I'd feel ripped off. That's part of the attraction of watching them play. That and the top-class rugby, of course.

posted by chicobangs at 11:55 AM on November 26

The All Blacks come by it honestly, and use it in the manner in which it was originally intended. what about when mormons use it?

posted by goddam at 12:19 PM on November 26

what about when mormons use it? It looks pretty stupid.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:26 PM on November 26

^ ^ I have nothing to add to that.

posted by chicobangs at 01:22 PM on November 26

This is interesting, as Haka's are not just confrontational. If you watch the extras on the 4 disk Lord of the Rings DVD's, at the end of filming, a Haka was performed to honor the cast. I typed in definition of Haka into Google as someone suggested and it turned up this interesting paragraph. Today, haka constitute an integral part of formal or official welcome ceremonies for distinguished visitors or foreign dignitaries, serving to impart a sense of the importance of the occasion. The Welsh should have responded with what they're known for, pulled out sheep, and shagged them in front of the All Blacks. (Couldn't resist...:))

posted by Drood at 02:10 PM on November 26

How many of the All Black team members are actually of Maori descent? A few. 2006 Maori All Blacks include: Carl Hayman, Rico Gear, Piri Weepu, Marty Holah, Leon MacDonald and Luke McAlister. I believe any and all teams have a right to respond however they wish Some teams do. Samoa and Fiji respond with their own war dances. Australia and English crowds sing songs other than their anthem. I think the problem the All Blacks had with the Welsh wanting to sing the Anthem after the haka is that it mucks about with the usual order of how international pre-match rituals are played out. Anthems are performed first, then the haka and any response. It's just a pain to have to form up for the anthem, sing, do a haka, reform for the next anthem, and then play. If the Welsh want to sing (and they can sing better than any sports crowd in the world), then they should just do it without juggling the pre-match schedule to suit them. Or get their own war dance. A touch of morris dancing, perhaps? ;)

posted by noizyboy at 03:29 PM on November 26

Drood: The Welsh should have responded with what they're known for, pulled out sheep, and shagged them in front of the All Blacks. What, and have the New Zealanders pile in and steal our thunder again?? noizyboy: Or get their own war dance. A touch of morris dancing, perhaps? ;) Ahem, don't blame us for that one! A thoroughly English pastime, morris dancing. Perhaps the Irish could do Riverdance?

posted by afx237vi at 04:01 PM on November 26

Ahem, don't blame us for that one! A thoroughly English pastime, morris dancing. Aha! My apologies! Do the Welsh have any sort of traditional dance they could whip out? Even if the team just lined up opposite the haka and sung a Welsh favourite, that'd be the go. And the Irish doing Riverdance would certainly give them a psychological edge - the opposition would surely be doubled over with laughter for the first five minutes of the game.

posted by noizyboy at 05:54 PM on November 26

I like the haka, but lately the Kiwis have been getting very precious about it, including in the Rugby League Tri-Nations, when Australia's NZ-born Polynesian player (Willie Mason) criticised New Zealand's Australian-born Aboriginal player for taking part in it, while it was happening. This caused a furore citing a lack of respect etc. I figure that the Welsh have every right to schedule the haka before Land of My Fathers. The Kiwis plainly did not respect the hosts' own traditions. Get over it, McCaw et al. Interestingly, the NZ football team (the All Whites) also do the haka, including during their one and only WC appearance in 1982. As far as I remember, no Maoris or Polynesians were in the side, and most of the team were born in the British Isles.

posted by owlhouse at 06:31 PM on November 26

...when Australia's NZ-born Polynesian player (Willie Mason) criticised New Zealand's Australian-born Aboriginal player for taking part in it, while it was happening. Actually, Willie was seen to be saying "F*** Off" to the Kiwis while they performed the haka, which is disrespectful in just about anyone's book. The criticism of Brent Webb (actually a Torres Islander) taking part in the haka took place after the game. Interestingly, the NZ football team (the All Whites) also do the haka, including during their one and only WC appearance in 1982. Errr, no they don't, and no they didn't. Outside of Rugby and League, the only NZ sports team that performs a haka as part of the per-game rituals (that I'm aware of) is the basketball team (the Tall Blacks). I figure that the Welsh have every right to schedule the haka before Land of My Fathers. The Kiwis plainly did not respect the hosts' own traditions. Well, if the Welsh had a tradition of playing the anthem after the haka, then you'd have a point.

posted by noizyboy at 07:28 PM on November 26

Hey noizy, welcome to Sportsfilter. Good to have you on board. However, in response: - I know Webb is from TI, but Mason actually called him out for being an 'Aboriginal' doing the haka. - The All Whites did peform the haka in Spain in 82. I remember that. They might not do it now, but that wasn't my point. perhaps I should have been clearer. - There is no tradition of the haka in Wales. But Land of My Fathers is traditional. Therefore the WRU should be able to schedule things when they like.

posted by owlhouse at 08:03 PM on November 26

The local high school football team has a large Tongan population and the Haka is a major part of the team preparation before each game.

posted by ou_lunatic at 08:32 PM on November 26

The All Whites did peform the haka in Spain in 82. Are you sure? I cannot recall that at all, and I was a soccer-mad kiwi kid at the time who watched every available second of coverage we could get down here. Got any links to evidence? (Frankly the thought of the tight-white-shorts-wearing Steve Sumner, Brian Turner, Wynton Rufer et. al. doing a haka makes me slightly nauseous). I know Webb is from TI Ah, indeed, I was just clarifying that Mason was being a) disrespectful, and b) stupid. There is no tradition of the haka in Wales... Except when NZ plays, perhaps? ;) it does all seem to be a bit of storm in a teacup as to whose tradition trumps whose. I see your anthem, and raise you a haka...

posted by noizyboy at 08:48 PM on November 26

Perhaps the Irish could do Riverdance? Oh god, no! Could you imagine Hayes with the flying feet and the tapa-tapa-tapa. 'Sides, Michael Flatley is technically American, so you can have him and his billowing shirts :)

posted by Fence at 07:48 AM on November 27

Well, even the Lord of the Dance would be better than the latest New Country/American Idol runner-up/Athlete's relative who mistakenly thinks they can carry a tune taking a machete to God Bless America or that other one, you know, the song about the rockets and Jose, can you see? That one. Because that's your American pregame tradition as it is. Especially if Flatley himself (what is he, 70 years old or something?) had to do it on wet grass during a thunderstorm. In the dark. To Motorhead. That'd be awesome.

posted by chicobangs at 08:11 AM on November 27

Chicobangs, you and I obviously have different interpretations of awesome :) but even I might just watch that performance. Though isn't Flately in hospital at the moment, some sort of infection, so his tapping feet may not be as quick as they once were.

posted by Fence at 08:20 AM on November 27

It's okay. He'd only have to do it once. Maybe twice if the first time didn't "take." Seriously, if you guys who see it all the time want to complain about how the haka's being used, well, okay, but for my money it's still far and away the best pregame ritual in sports anywhere.

posted by chicobangs at 08:40 AM on November 27

noizyboy: Do the Welsh have any sort of traditional dance they could whip out? Hmm, well, the Welsh aren't really big on dancing. Singing, that's more our bag. Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey... er... Charlotte Church. I hear we're even trying to claim Rolf Harris these days. And of course the Welsh team has its own mascot in the form of the lovely Katharine Jenkins, who sings the anthem at every home game. She's closely matched by the NZ anthem singer Hayley Westenra, who is possibly even lovelier. In fact, I reckon all pre-match theatrics should just be dumped in favour of a bikini mud wrestling contest between Jenkins and Westenra. I'm sure the crowd would prefer that to a bunch of 18 stone thugs doing a silly jig :p They wouldn't even need to bring in the mud, they could just use the woeful Millennium Stadium pitch!

posted by afx237vi at 09:51 AM on November 27

Of course, owlhouse, that ignores the fact that when Wales rejigged the Haka scheduling last year, they promised that they'd never ask for the Haka to be moved again. Since they WRU are a pack of liars, I think the All Blacks are well within their right to be irked. This also takes place against concerted campaigns from a number of nations to denigrate the Haka because they spend more time worrying about pre-match rituals than their own side's rugby playing ability.

It strikes me that if very few can claim to be of Maori blood, then the haka is about as appropriate as it would be if the Washington Redskins did a traditional war dance before kickoff.
We have this thing called a "multicultural society", and one aspect of that is that non-Maori New Zealanders have incorporated some aspects of Maori language and culture into the broader pattern of New Zealand culture. I realise this is a difficult thing to grasp for some nations whose race relations are marked by massacres, segregation, slavery, and race riots, but we think this is good thing.
The haka is a great part of rugby tradition and culture, but that doesn't mean that other teams have to accept what the All Blacks want simply because it has always been done that way.
The IRB beg to differ, and it doesn't seem to bother, say, the French or South Africans. But then they've beaten us some time in the last 50 years, so perhaps they're a little more secure in themselves.

posted by rodgerd at 02:58 PM on November 27

I realise this is a difficult thing to grasp for some nations whose race relations are marked by massacres, segregation, slavery, and race riots, but we think this is a good thing. Hmmm, really old chap?

posted by mjkredliner at 03:51 PM on November 27

The last link should be this. Although I appreciate your sentiments, Americans did not write the book on the wrongs you mentioned, nor is New Zealand immune to them.

posted by mjkredliner at 04:03 PM on November 27

I realise this is a difficult thing to grasp for some nations whose race relations are marked by massacres, segregation, slavery, and race riots I'm sure you want to put on a good front for the world, and there are many good things to admire in NZ society, but taking a 'white blindfold' view of history in your country is a dangerous path. Nothing is achieved by criticising another country's history either - you will probably find as many disturbing events, as well as currently held ignorant and racist views in just about any country in the world. Like Australia (where I live), the colonisation process involved all of the above evil deeds, the repercussions are still in evidence today, and many issues remain unresolved. As they are across the Tasman. I'm not here to give you a lesson in NZ history, but only to ask that you consider that the past, including yours, is not lily white. Multiculturalism (which is also still official policy in Australia) is only a recent phenomenon, and the danger is that it can always be replaced. I'm sure the (now resigned) Don Brash and others of his persuasion would have been very happy to reverse some of the gains. Further, you could ask Samoans of a certain generation about the Mau rebellion, and what NZ colonisation meant for them in terms of massacres, segregation, slavery and riots.

posted by owlhouse at 04:45 PM on November 27

rodgerd, your post seems awfully defensive. No-one is saying the All Blacks couldn't do the haka. The WRU was perfectly willing to allow a haka, and actually encouraged it. Indeed, with regards to multiculturalism and respecting what the haka stands for, didn't their statement say "the WRU has also been advised by a top Maori expert and cultural adviser"... It seems they put a lot of thought into it, but the All Black management seem to think they have a god given right to do it when and where they want. In fact, it's odd that they cite tradition, when the first ever sporting haka was done in Wales in between the anthems.

posted by afx237vi at 05:00 PM on November 27

In fact, it's odd that they cite tradition, when the first ever sporting haka was done in Wales in between the anthems. I don't think this was the first instance of a rugby haka being performed, just the first instance of the haka being performed in Wales by the All Blacks. The team had been on tour for quite a while before that game, and had been performing hakas at most, if not all, of those games. Usually, I'd be guessing, before kick-off. It may have been the case that first haka between Wales and the ABs was performed between the anthems, but, since then, it's always before kick-off, after the anthems. Tradition is created by recurrence, not a one-off event that occured 100 years ago.

posted by noizyboy at 06:01 PM on November 27

The IRB's protocol has the haka after the anthems, but Wales V NZ was not covered by this as it was a friendly. If the All Blacks were so upset with the timing why didn't they complain earlier. They'd been notified by the Welsh rugby officials weeks in advance. Of course the New Zealand team were well within their rights not to perform the haka if they felt they were being pushed around, but I don't think that they can complain that it is all Wales' fault.

posted by Fence at 03:38 AM on November 28

If the All Blacks were so upset with the timing why didn't they complain earlier. They did. Apparently there'd been toing and froing with regards to the whole silly business since the itinerary was announced months ago. They had said they might not perform the haka on the field if it wasn't before kick-off, and were then true to their word.

posted by noizyboy at 03:10 PM on November 28

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