Bring Back Buck > Comments from Hone Harawira

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Me and Shane Jones don’t always agree, but we line up with tens of thousands of others, both Maori and Pakeha, in calling for one of Maoridom’s greatest ever All Blacks, Wayne “Buck” Shelford, to be appointed as one of Rugby World Cup’s Ambassadors.

In fact it’s hard to believe that government hasn’t even asked him, given the fact that in more than 100 years of rugby, Buck is the only undefeated captain the All Blacks have ever had.

The decision not to appoint a Maori Ambassador is wrong for several reasons.

When people come here to watch the World Cup, they’ll all be looking for what makes Aotearoa unique, and increasingly it is the “Maori” brand.

And when you talk about the Maori brand, who is it the whole world thinks of when they think of the resurgence of the haka? None other than Buck Shelford himself. It’s a bit ironic that the haka is so widely used to promote All Black Rugby, but government won’t appoint the man who made it something the whole country can be proud of.

And what sort of message does the non-appointment of Buck Shelford send to the thousands of Maori rugby players, in the year we celebrate the centenary of Maori rugby? Maori Rugby deserves better than that. And the All Black heritage does as well.

Earlier this year I watched a Six Nations game on TV, and during the match I spotted a banner that made me chuckle, not least because there weren’t any All Blacks on the field! The message on that banner is as relevant now that Andy Haden has resigned, as it was back in the 1990’s.

It simply said “Bring Back Buck”, a call that most New Zealanders would be glad to see Murray McCully honour.

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