Invictus respects Maori culture

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Maori culture was dealt with respectfully by Clint Eastwood in his new film Invictus, a cultural expert has said.

The film, which premiered last night (31st January) in London, focuses on Nelson Mandela’s first term as South African president. Based on a true story, the film tells how Mandela joined forces with Springboks captain Francois Pienaar to help unite post-apartheid South Africa during the Rugby World Cup of 1995.

Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon take on the lead roles in the film, which is due to be released on 5th February.

During the film, the final match which pitted New Zealand’s rugby team the All Blacks against the Springboks is depicted.

Inia Maxwell, a Maori cultural expert, said he was “humbled” by the respect director Eastwood showed for traditional Maori dance, the haka, which is performed by the All Blacks in an attempt to intimidate the rival team.

The dance, which has been made famous by the rugby team, is typically viewed as expression of passion and is seen as a marker of Maori culture.

Maxwell trained 15 actors to perform the haka for the film and described their enthusiasm as humbling.

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They were real rugby players cast for their looks being similar to the 1995 cup teams. I wanted to make sure they understood what they were doing, what they were performing and the history of it,” he noted.

The enthusiasm they showed was quite humbling. There’s such respect for the haka and for the All Blacks over there,” he added.

Kia ora to SIDEWAYS News for this piece.

Also click here for a background blog on the movie including the Kiwi connection.

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