PR Stunt disrespects Haka

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Everton FC have been accused of ‘cultural disrespect’ over the PR stunt used to launch their new away kit.

On Thursday, the Blues marked the release of the black and pink strip with a team of Maori dancers performing a specially commissioned version of the Haka to the words of the Toffees’ terrace anthem ‘If you know your history’ for the launch on the Goodison Park pitch as well as at the club’s new store in the Liverpool One shopping centre.

haka_300x200Plans to re-enact the dance, traditionally performed by the New Zealand rugby team, before next weekend’s Barclays Premier League opener with Arsenal have come under fire after a lawyer claimed that Everton have disrespected the Maori heritage with the dance.

Property lawyer Maui Solomon has written to the club to demand that they shelve plans for any future renditions of the haka performed earlier this week.

I think it’s showing cultural disrespect to Maori. People overseas need to know Maori culture isn’t just up for grabs… This is the thin edge of the wedge. People all over the world are appropriating Maori culture for commercial purposes.”

However a Goodison spokesman said: “As a club we understand what the haka represents and we simply wanted to celebrate the launch of our new all black playing strip with a dedicated Everton haka.”

What do you think whanau, were they just celebrating or did they get it wrong? Korero mai.

Kia ora to Tom Burgess for this article.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Press Release 13 August 2009

    For immediate release

    Ngati Ranana is dismayed by the misuse of Maori haka to launch a new
    playing strip by the English Premiership football club, Everton.

    “It was an example of the misrepresentation of Maori culture” said Tama
    Kirikiri, the Chairperson of Ngati Ranana, London Maori Club.

    Speaking on behalf of Ngati Ranana (London Maori Club) and
    associated groups – Manaia (London Maori Performing Arts Company)
    and Maramara Totara (London Branch of the National School of Ancient
    Maori Weaponry), Kirikiri said this was another case of the Maori culture
    being misappropriated for commercial gain, without proper authority or
    regard for its cultural origin or significance.

    “Haka is something that runs at the core of our identity. As such we do
    not appreciate these types of light hearted renditions for whatever
    purpose, as it portrays Maori culture in a derogatory light.”

    Kirikiri said Ngati Ranana and associated groups have performed haka
    and other Maori dance in London, the United Kingdom and throughout
    Europe for over 50 years – as a way of celebrating Maori culture and
    sharing it with the world.

    “But every step of the way,” he said, “we are
    mindful that the integrity of our culture must be preserved.”

    “If Everton had asked us to create something like this, they would have
    heard an unhesitating and outright ‘no’.”

    – ENDS –

    For all enquiries, please contact Tama Kirikiri at
    ngatirananaclub@yahoo.co.nz

    Further information about Ngati Ranana can be found on
    http://www.ngatiranana.org and Manaia at http://www.manaia.co.uk.

  2. As I tell my kids, if you are going to do something, do it well, and if you are going to perform what you know to be a cultural icon, do it well – learn the proper words – learn the proper actions and perform it with integrity. These guys were just terrible. Kohanga children could have done a better job.

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