Maori leader says haka ‘hijacked by rugby’ – smh

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A New Zealand Maori leader has backed controversial comments from South Africa coach Peter de Villiers that the haka is “overused”, saying the traditional war dance has been “hijacked by rugby people”.

Peter Love, trustee of an organisation which administers Maori reserves, told Fairfax Media that Maori culture was being “abused” and was especially unhappy with a wave of haka “flash mobs” surrounding the World Cup.

“I’m concerned our (Maori) culture is being abused by the overuse and inappropriateness of the haka when it is performed outside special occasions,” Love told Fairfax, in comments reported today.

“The haka in our culture is something which is regarded as special and should not be bastardised by sport. Peter de Villiers is dead right when he says it is losing its respect.”

Love, whose uncle is a former New Zealand Maori Rugby Board chairman, added that haka flash mobs, including more than a dozen in recent weeks with one in Barcelona and another at the Sydney Opera House, were misguided.

“The haka is a challenge, not something which is performed as an expression of delight,” he said.

“Who told those people they could do that? The haka is an orchestrated representation of our culture when it is used in an appropriate place, but it is being abused.”

De Villiers courted controversy when he said the face-pulling, foot-stamping dance and chant performed before rugby games by New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to intimidate opponents was becoming over-exposed.

“For me, about the World Cup especially, there is too many haka around,” de Villiers told theDominion Postnewspaper. “It is unique, to me, and is losing its intensity, but that is only me.

“People are becoming so used to it. It is not a novelty any more and they don’t respect it.”

De Villiers’ comments prompted an immediate response from the All Blacks, with centre Ma’a Nonu saying, “it’s part of our history, our tradition.

“We’re proud of it. I don’t really care what he thinks,” Nonu said.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/maori-leader-says-haka-hijacked-by-rugby-20110920-1kj2k.html#ixzz1YXRDyDJL

1 COMMENT

  1. tautoko nonu – the haka inspires the players and we should leave them alone after all they are the ones out there busting their guts…

    NO DISRESPECT INTENDED BUT – on another level it seems important to say maori live all around the world including in sydney and the fact is – they are proud to be able to haka where ever and whenever the ihi inspires. given maori as a nation have been working to assert their right to choose for themselves – this has to be a positive thing especially for the younger generation – it really does concern me that people are so narrow minded about how maori culture should be practised because while its hoped things are done the right way its a bit unrealistic to expect haka and other cultural acts wont continue on beyond the hau kainga. the other thing to remember is this – if maori culture should be expected to remain in a narrow box then why promote it to the world…the kaumatua asked who gave people permission well i suggest they gave themselves permission because thats often how the wairua within works. if doing a haka, being part of a haka or reconnecting to ones roots through engaging in haka then – it has to be good for future generations…

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