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Andrew Cotter

Hacked off with the Haka (772)

This may be the quickest and perhaps least professional blog ever to hit the web but there are valid reasons.

Since I had to check my lap-top in with the rest of my luggage, I am left tapping away at one of those internet kiosks where you pile in coins (which are short).

You have to work as furiously as you can, while your time left, your money and possibly your life quietly slip away in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

I am also encircled by one of the longest check-in queues I have ever seen, consisting almost entirely of All Black supporters - the army of The Dark Lord Henry is on the march again.

They don't sing and aren't drunk. They just stand grim and stony-faced.

Frustrated perhaps at the fact that a family has chosen the front of the queue to re-pack all five of their cases.

Perhaps also that NO ONE IN THIS TOURNAMENT CAN GIVE THEM A PROPER GAME.

You see, that little Ronnie Corbett-esque diversion has just cost me 24 pence and over two minutes of precious time.

So I'll get straight to the point.

The game between New Zealand and Scotland was as close to pointless as you're going to get, a point my colleague Phil Harlow has covered in depth elsewhere on this blog, but there is one thing I would like to raise.

The Haka.

kapaopangohaka

I have said for a while (and heard it said by plenty of others) that the All Blacks should not be allowed to perform the Haka after the anthems.

I love the sight and sound of the Haka but should they always have the final say, psychologically, before kick-off? As if they need it.

They certainly shouldn't get offended if opposing teams choose to face it in their own way, ignore it, throw a blade of grass in the wrong direction or request, as the Welsh did, that they might be allowed to respond with their own anthem.

And they lose any argument they have for doing it on the grounds that it is traditional when they perform their all-new Haka, thankfully without the throat slitting gesture, as they did once again at Murrayfield.

What, so now you're allowed to perform any choreographed routine before the game? I look forward to the Lambada from Andrew Sheridan and George Chuter.

I also look forward to plenty of disagreement from All Black supporters. If they ever get to check-in.

There. Done it. And just before my money ran out - this has cost me six quid.

Ah, there's an hour delay to my flight...

Andrew Cotter is a BBC Sport commentator specialising in rugby union and golf. He is covering Scotland at the World Cup for Radio 5live and you can see the station's full broadcast schedule here.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:25 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

No I'm not hacked of with the haka I enjoy watching it. I believe that this rugby tradition should be kept only thing that worries me is that the English might do a morris dance or the Scots a jig around claymores. People like the haka let it continue

  • 2.
  • At 06:32 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • grouchmonkey wrote:

Actually, why do we bother with the anthems, either? They just delay the astart of the game in an effort to crank up the nationalist fervour a bit. frankly, either it's a big gameor it isn't and national anthems aren't going to make, say, Tonga US a big game or stop NZ-Australia from being a big game, so why bother?

Plus England have the most boring, tedious song ever droned as their anthem. I suggest that they practice while all this is going on - they do need it, after all. NZ can do a bit of native dancing to pass the time, but the rest of us have catching up to do.

  • 3.
  • At 06:32 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Richard McClune wrote:

Have to agree whole-heartedly about your sentiments over the Haka. The Kiwis can't argue that it's traditional anymore as they have completely changed it. Thankfully they have dropped the repugnant throat-slitting gesture that originally went with this new one!

If the All Blacks are going to rely on the old 'It was how we traditionally challenged our enemies' line perhaps the Scots could have replied in kind. My understanding is that the Scots traditional challenge before battle was to lift their kilts and expose their wedding tackle and then their rear ends to their enemies.

Come to think of it that would have certainly livened up Sunday's meeting!

  • 4.
  • At 06:32 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Roger Butcher wrote:

How refreshing to read Andrew Cotter's comments re the NZ Haka. It has become an issue that is politically incorrect to criticise.
Whatever the original context for the Haka, it was not intended for the rugby field. It should be respected as a part of that land's culture and no more. Is the Haka performed before NZ play international cricket? Possibly Ireland should take something from Riverdance; that was based on Irish tradition and mythology dating back at least as far as the Haka. What is good for one nation has to be open for all who feel the need to exhibit the national identity. As for NZ, how they play rugby displays their identity.

  • 5.
  • At 06:33 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Justin wrote:

Totally agree with you about the Hakka, its a war challenge, to the death, not very sportsmanlike especially the throat slitting.

I suggest the English do a morris dance, the Irish Riverdance and the scottish well line up in their kilts and .........

  • 6.
  • At 06:39 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • JohnN wrote:

At last someone who feels as I do that New Zealand (or anyone else) shouldn’t be allowed the extra advantage of the ‘Haga’ or the extra song to get at your rivals.

It’s very unfair as the rivals just have to stand and watch. If they respond in any way it’s deemed as ‘unsportmanslike’. Crap! NZ and the rest should only be allowed their National Anthem.

Who wants to see grown men behaving like toads anyway!

  • 7.
  • At 06:44 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Lindsay wrote:

I agree. I think the Haka is fabulous to watch if you are a neutral but surely the opposition should have a right of reply?

  • 8.
  • At 06:44 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

You raise a valid point sir. I often wonder if England or any of the other home nations were to respond with a "traditional" dance to haka; then what would it be? I get the feeling the Scotish, Welsh and Irish could probably come up with rousingly celtic and defiant in the face of throat slitting and aggressive grass throwing.
England, however could probably and at a push respond with... the Morris Dance- a load of middle aged men with bells on their knees waving hankies in your face. Don't know about anyone else but it scares the hell out of me...

  • 9.
  • At 06:50 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Kev wrote:

I wouldn't want to see the end of the Haka, I have always enjoyed watching it.

I do agree though that they should take no offence at teams responded however they wish. I would like to see more teams walk right up to them, effectivley answering the challenge, rather than just sit back and watch.

  • 10.
  • At 06:50 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • iain wilkinson wrote:

I agree with you on this one... how can you have a "new" traditional item!
Having the last word before the start of the game is a big psychological advantage and one that teams of late have tried to minimise by leaving tracksuits on to watch it...
It is traditional and as such deserves inclusiong, but if it is changed then others should be allowed to modifuy their pre-match routine too... George Chuter and Andrew Sheridon get ready..

  • 11.
  • At 06:50 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • jim wrote:

With all due respect, i do not think you know as much about rugby as you claim and even if you do then this blog is a tad controversial and insulting to the NZ. You may know the players rules etc but surely any ex player and genuine rugby lover will know the tradition of the haka is something that goes side the anthems. If you say get rid of the haka, why not get rid of anthems full stop. I love going to watch NZ and the unbelievable rugby aside (which no European teams have produced thus far) the haka is something i have grown to love.

It gets the players and fans fired up, which is quite useful as rugby is a physical game (something which the current English team seem to have forgot)

  • 12.
  • At 06:52 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • MikeH wrote:

I agree entirely with your comments on the Haka. Can anybody tell me just WHY you must respect it? The latest version looks to the neutral to be a very threatening set of gestures that simply deserves any reaction it gets. BTW how many actual Maoris are there in New Zealand squad (as opposed to Samoans, Tongans, Fijians etc.)?

  • 13.
  • At 06:52 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • michael bennett wrote:

I agree, I think England should be able to do a Morris dance before each game, it would be great imagine how embarrassed the allblacks would be! Morris dancing is far superior.

  • 14.
  • At 06:54 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • exileinwales wrote:

Andrew my commiserations on your travails with the flights.Stay calm breathe deeply and levitate.If nothing else you will be arrested and thrown out of the country. No flight delays when this is the order of the day,methinks.
The Haka is,without question one of the biggest scams in world sport.The All Blacks didn't know a Haka from the hokey cokey until a few years ago when they decide that NZ actually encompassed most of the Southern Pacific Islands and in order to seem authentic and non-poaching they beefed up the haka with the help of a few Maori players in the national squad. There is actual footage of the All Black haka circa 1968 where the New Zealanders are actually laughing at their own ineptitude in performing this All Black "tradition"
Campese had the right idea just go to the other end of the field and continue with your pre match preperations.
Ban the Haka I cry, no doubt in vain.

  • 15.
  • At 06:57 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Maybe the England team could do the Conga or even better a chorus of "Who are ya Who are ya Who are ya!"

  • 16.
  • At 06:59 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Lindsay wrote:

I agree. I think the Haka is fabulous to watch if you are a neutral but surely the opposition should have a right of reply?

  • 17.
  • At 07:01 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Zerofeet wrote:

In days before the massive coverage that international rugby now receives, the haka was a novelty and enjoyed by most when viewed for the first time. We are all now extremely familiar (and jaded) by it. As such it is now employed as a form of intimidation rather than a demonstration of native culture. I agree that the Haka (and its derivatives) need either to be discontinued or only performed on specific ocassions (such as winning the RWC!).

  • 18.
  • At 07:01 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mel wrote:

As a Welshman, I disagree completely with your suggestion that the Haka should be responded to! The AB's have been the dominant force in world rugby for many, many years!! Do you actually think that this is because the Haka has given them such an advantage over the years? I think not!! They have consistently been the best side in the world because of their hunger to beat any side in their way, the intense conditioning and training they get, excellent coaching and fantastic individual talent! The Fijians, Samoans and Tongans perform their own challenge, but are nowhere near as succesful as their neighbours.

It is a great spectable and the only disappointment for me is thhe fact that they now consistently use the "new" Haka instead of the traditional Haka which is a pleasure to see and would be an absolute honour to face!!

Keep it up AB's!!

  • 19.
  • At 07:03 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • derek belm wrote:

Funny how no-one complains about the Samoan, Fijian and Tongan hakas.

Is this because none of these sides is expected to win, so whether they gain a psychological advantage from doing a haka is irrelevant?

Personally, I think opposition sides should be able to respond to the NZ haka. They're demanding we respect their culture, so they should be prepared to respect the culture of (in my case) 70,000 fellow Welshmen and listen to us sing our hearts out.

But then that's the tricky thing about respect, it cuts both ways - to deserve it, you need to earn it.

  • 20.
  • At 07:04 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • MikeH wrote:

I agree with you entirely. Can anybody tell me WHY you should show respect for such a provocative dance?

  • 21.
  • At 07:12 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Wayne wrote:

What happens when they face Samoa who want to perform their version of it? Will they throw their toys out of the pram then if they don't get the last word.
Not sure about dropping the Haka, but certainly should be anthem or Haka - NOT BOTH!

  • 22.
  • At 07:13 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Bob the Welshman wrote:

With you 100% on this one. Its just another case of NZ getting their way & everyone else being too afraid to stand up to them. Why should the Haka (or any of the other Pacific Island 'dances' for that matter) be performed last, especially away from home.
To make matters worse opposing teams are prevented from doing anything to respond to the challenge that the Haka throws down. Why I wonder ?

  • 23.
  • At 07:14 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Zerofeet wrote:

In days before the massive coverage that international rugby now receives, the haka was a novelty and enjoyed by most when viewed for the first time. We are all now extremely familiar (and jaded) by it. As such it is now employed as a form of intimidation rather than a demonstration of native culture. I agree that the Haka (and its derivatives) need either to be discontinued or only performed on specific ocassions (such as winning the RWC!).

  • 24.
  • At 07:17 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • sam wrote:

I can see it now, two lines abreast, dressed in coats the colour of blood, muskets aimed. Capt. Lawrence D. shouts his command, "FIRE". It would be the last time we would witness the Haka and maybe England would win. What a thrill that would be.

  • 25.
  • At 07:21 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Bob Brady wrote:

I heard that the Aussies get over the haka by reciting "Humpty Dumpty" to themselves at the same cadence as it's delivered. Lost all respect for the All Blacks following on from that "tackle" on O'Driscoll in the Lions tour. Let's hope the Argies beat Ireland, then pit the French against the AB's, and surprise them with a real contest for a change.

  • 26.
  • At 07:26 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

What happens when NZ play Samoa - who gets "last go" at the haka?

  • 27.
  • At 07:28 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • TaffinEastbourne wrote:

More of a fad than a tradition in the greater scheme of things.NZ are a bit precious about this prematch ritual which has never yet been successfully carried out by their water-polo team.
Quaint fad from the amateur days that has no place in Pro sport.Anyway as most of their team are from the islands surely more apprpriate to do Samoan/Tongan/Fijian jig???

  • 28.
  • At 07:29 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

Its strange that everybody suddenly has a problem with New Zealand doing their 'haka' but nobody has a problem or even mentions Fiji, Samoa and Tonga doing their's (which in my opinion are more agressive than the all blacks)

The haka is a fantastic thing to watch and a great bit of theatre before kick off (I was in the Millenium Stadium back in November and i was absolutely gutted that i didnt see it performed on the pitch, and judging by the chanting so were 75,000 other welsh people)

All this rubbish about it firing them up and intimidating the opposition, as Brian Moore once said 'If you're intimidated by the haka then you shouldn't be out there facing it' (or something along those lines anyway)

  • 29.
  • At 07:31 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • STEPHEN wrote:

Well said Andrew, the haka's time is past, not least because the All Blacks have become so precious about it. If we must put up with it, why don't opposing teams follow the example of the Irish team of about 20 years ago (captained by Willie Anderson of Argentinian flag-stealing fame) and link arms and walk slowly ever closer to the All Blacks as they go through their ballet-dancing routine. It didn't half wind them up I can tell you.

  • 30.
  • At 07:31 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • daz wrote:

Am i glad others feel the same about this soft routine the all blacks do before every game !!
the welsh had the rite idea they wanted to respond with their own nationl anthem but the kiwis threw their teddy out the pram and said they couldnt , so apparently they performed it in the dressin room !
I1d like to see the oppositon turn away and discuss team tactics or warm up the other end of the pitch.

  • 31.
  • At 07:38 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • anthony wrote:

Get over it. The Haka is part of the international game.

The 'Kamate' haka was better and more parcipitative than the current chant, but it's not our party and we can't cry if we want to.

I am an England man through and through and I wish people would stop whining about the Haka and start concentrating on the fact that our team is a pathetic bunch of hapless schoolgurls compared to the current All-Blacks.

If you want to comment on something, try the absurd design of England's kit, or the fact that most of our best players were knackered out of the tournament before it even started.

Getting at the Haka is like complaining about the mosquitos on holiday - they won't go away and they don't care what one says.

  • 32.
  • At 07:38 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Marvin wrote:

In spite of the fact that I am British, I believe that the Haka is a tradition that the majority of rugby fans enjoy watching. It adds a different dimension to the game, and is a treat to watch for everybody - neutral, Kiwi or neither. International rugby, as with all sport, is brilliant because of the national pride and the honour of representing your country, a remarkable accomplishment. The National anthems, and the Haka, are in the very spirit of the international game, and with their abolition would go the heart and soul of International rugby, scrapping not only the tradition of national anthems and the Haka, but also the pride and honour which has been deep at the heart of International rugby since its inception.

  • 33.
  • At 07:39 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

how can u get "hacked off" with the haka. its a traditional spectacle that any decent sports fan should relish the opportunity to watch. if u dont want to see it dont watch it.its something to see and something that means a lot to the players performing it, why should they lose out because a minority want rid of it. by the way its not only the all blacks that perform it, the pacific isles, fiji tonga samoa all have some version of a war dance before a game and will they be banned as well. the haka adds to the mystique of the all blacks and goes some way to to make them the lengends they are on the field. o and one last thing the throat slittig gesture has only been performed towards sides that have offended them or ridiculed them like the aussies who made an advert with the all blacks doing the haka with handbags and the throat slit was a response to that not a general threat to all other teams. leave the all blacks and their haka to it.

  • 34.
  • At 07:39 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • eh wrote:

but is it really part of the game to give one team an unfair advantage before the game even starts? it is a war dance for heaven sake, designed to intimidate the opponents. it is quite agressive and no matter how tough the players are I for one believe they are affected - if only ever so little - which gives an advantage to the All Blacks.

  • 35.
  • At 07:41 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • simonsays wrote:

Surely the ABs lost any right for the haka to be dutifully and solemnly respected the moment they sold it to Adidas for a TV commercial?

Besides, the AB haka as we know it isn't that "traditional" anyway, it only dates back to about 1986 when Buck Shelford was captain. Before that, it resembled something more like a morris dance.

  • 36.
  • At 07:43 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Graham wrote:

Oh come on if the other countries are intimidated by the Haka, they shouldn't be playing. It's all for the spectators now. Besides, when the opponents look like they don't give a monkeys, I hardly think it's going to cause any psychological concern?!

  • 37.
  • At 07:49 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Thomas wrote:

When I started watching the All Blacks the Haka was not always performed, but it did not spoil my enjoyment of watching these proud and talented rugby players representing their country. I am in agreement with you regarding the Haka and feel the All Blacks get an unfair advantage from it, both in its timing and performance. The Haka stems from a Maori battle dance and there are fewer and fewer Maoris in the present day All Blacks and it is purely used in an attempt to intimidate the opposition. I feel during such a prestigious tournament such as the World Cup neither team should be given or expect any advantage as afforded the All Blacks. If they wish to continue performing the Haka they can do so during "friendly" tours to entertain the occasional supporter.

  • 38.
  • At 07:50 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Nigel wrote:

I think the article by Andrew Cotter is rather childish. As an englishman I have always enjoyed watching the All Blacks including the Haka as a traditional start to their performance. They are one of the great rugby nations and winning against the All Blacks is a highlight for any team. Long may they start their games with a Haka!!! The northern hemisphere teams need to focus on improving the standard of their rugby so that they can offer a challenge on the pitch that will offer the ultimate response to the Haka; defeat by the oppenents!

  • 39.
  • At 07:52 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • jocko54 wrote:

I could not agree more, particularly in a RWC.
For a friendly match, no problem, but it does give them an unfair advantage. I also laugh at those who say that Italy 'disrepected' them by standing in a circle. Good for Italy. I hope all of NZ's other opponents do the same.

  • 40.
  • At 07:52 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

Any challenge to the Haka is taken as an affront to New Zealand culture. Brian O'Driscoll almost had his career ended by merely thrwing blades of grass in the air. After that incident, the days of the Haka being viewed as an iconic moment in sport ended and it is now just a piece of shallow triumphanisn by the worlds greatest rugby playing nation.

  • 41.
  • At 07:55 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

It's a great sight, and I'm aware that many of the All Blacks have some Maori blood, but how many of them, as individuals, live in a truly Maori culture? And, not to risk upsetting our NZ friends out there, how do the ones who are from elsewhere feel about subsuming their own island identity to that of the All Black machine?

The memory of John Timu leading the haka - eyes bulging, veins on his neck popping out, absolutely psyched up - was a fantastic one (must've been, for it to be my defining memory of the Haka so many years after the event) but only someone with no understanding of confrontational situations would say it doesn't give the NZ side an advantage before the ball is even kicked.

  • 42.
  • At 07:57 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Have it prior to the national anthems....(or in Ireland's case, godawful Ulster eurotrash entry).
While I doubt it gives the AB's any advantage, the decision by NZ to perform any number of "haka's" from cut-throat to tweedleee versions show it to be little more than an attention seeking exercise for television producers. And as for expecting "respect" from the other team for this war-dance - with an "otherwise, we'll really hammer you" implied threat. What a laugh. Get on with the game after the anthems, we pay to see rugby not Come Dancing.

  • 43.
  • At 07:59 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Dry Riser Inlet wrote:

Remember Richard Cockerill and Norm Hewitt? Interesting from Zinzan Brooke in 2003. Hope I'm allowed to quote on this blog!

"It was Wayne 'Buck' Shelford who reinstilled the importance of the haka. Back in the Sixties and Seventies, there had been a few, what we'd call, 'tupperware' hakas. Buck didn't stand for that. He meant every word of it and he made every word and gesture stick by the way he played the game. He made it much more of a war challenge - which is what it's meant to be. That's why none of us were particularly offended when [England hooker] Richard Cockerill marched up to us and went eyeball to eyeball with Norm Hewitt in 1997. Cockerill was just delivering his own aggressive response."

If this to believed it may have been the pc crowd rather than the all blacks who were 'offended'. The ABs just got more fired up!

  • 44.
  • At 08:00 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • marc williams wrote:

This is an interesting thread. The Haka has to be done prior to any national anthem. Alternatively, if anyone really is perturbed about any unfair psychological advantage with this Haka dance, The All Blacks should camp it up a little with Rave Techno/Trance anthems, so you have a Trance Haka, a Techno Haka, even a drum and base Haka. If this fails to please, then each team member kicks the other team member firmly in the nuts, and then the other team takes their turn. The players with the hardest and most accurate kick, immediately have the psycological edge on their opposite number !!

  • 45.
  • At 08:06 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Declan Higgins wrote:

I remember in 1989 watching the Irish team led by Anderson confronting the Haka by moving forward arms around each other and approaching the AB's to the point they were face to face. It was brilliant to be there but of course Ireland lost as is usually the case against them. As the AB's did their number the Irish were shouting back at them 'we're going to beat you'. Anderson did something like a jig afterwards to raise the crowd into a frenzy! I like the Haka and respect the AB's but slightly less so than if the team were actually full of New Zealanders as it patently isn't.

  • 46.
  • At 08:07 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • brian wrote:

Do you remember when richard cockrill walked right up to them , they didn't like that much . Knees up mother brown would be my reply to it

  • 47.
  • At 08:09 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • krys wrote:

All the talk is of the tradition but I thought that the kiwi's only started doing the haka in the late seventies/early eighties so its not exactly like its been around since the start of New Zealand rugby.
If they or anyone else wants to do a haka or the Aussies sing Waltzing Matilda or anything then it should be before the anthems

  • 48.
  • At 08:16 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Damien wrote:

its part of rugby just deal with it. the best comeback to the haka was when neil back and co got in their faces during the haka, this should be the case all the time as elite athletes shouldn't lose any advantage through psychological means. they should be focused on the at hand not a dance!

  • 49.
  • At 08:16 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Kiwi Mark wrote:

To 'exileinwales',

Footage may exist of 60's vintage All Blacks making a poor attempt at the Ka Mate haka - the one which is known as 'the All Blacks haka' - but you can't start the time-line here just because that's as far as your knowledge takes you.

More 'footage' - grainy, black-and-white film - also exists from the opening years of the 20th century, a time when, one could argue, the seeds were sown for southern hemisphere dominance of the game as Victorian and Edwardian class sensibilities cemented the game as a middle-class sport in Europe, while post-colonial strength and psyche handed the Kiwis a very, very fair advantage.

I take it from your snide comment that 'they decide that NZ encompassed most of the Southern Pacific Islands' that you are highly versed in our nation's post-war history.

Or not, in fact.

After WW2 the British - that is, the English plus two other countries that they decided were part of their green and pleasent land - could not buy enough New Zealand produce, including both raw materials (yes, we treat the sheep very, very well before we export them...and don't get me started on the dairy products) and our manufactured goods too.

Unfortunately we couldn't lay our hands on enough good keen manpower to keep up with the Brits' orders, so folk from the islands (Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands etc) were called in, just as the Aussies, Brits, Americans, Canadians, and...well...pretty much every other white post-colonial country did after the war from various parts of the world.

So one could argue that Fisher and Paykel washing machines are in some small way responsible for the number of NEW ZEALANDERS of Pacific Island-stock (just as Queen Elizabeth II is English and not German, these lads on the team are very much Kiwis, bro) who grace the national rugby team.

The Maori have been about for 900-odd years in Aotearoa and the Ka Mate haka is just one of the more poetic of these 'war dances' that have been a part of their tribal combat tradition for at least a millennia.

The New Zealand Army often performs a haka - created especially, only a few years ago - and accompanying ceremonies when taking over or handing over a peacekeeping base, attending memorial services, welcoming peers from elsewhere and so forth. This is not for their own self gratification, it's not to be showey, it's certainly not to give anybody a pyschological advantage.

It's tradition, and it's a damned good one.

  • 50.
  • At 08:17 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • ieuan wrote:

when NZ are away from home, they should do their anthem and then the haka before the home side has their anthem.

if NZ are at home then they can do it after - throat slitting and all.

  • 51.
  • At 08:17 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Stop whinging. The Haka is fun. It is even better TV. Which is why the ABs eyes pop out of their heads and spittle runs down their chins. It looks good. But it is a threat to no one. Daniel Carter is not going to roast your entrails. Not that guy. Coming back from his manicure?

As an aside, do you think Adidas minds every time the Haka is on TV?

But to be fair, the traditional AB Haka is THE Haka. It is part of rugby tradition. I am sure someone came up with this new one to show the new breed of ABs are 'relevent', 'involved'. In other words very PC. Therefore, its got to go.

And if someone wants to ignore it, ignore it. Who cares? It still makes good TV. And it's still fun.

And if someone wants a rejoinder, well, if it is reasonable, and someone has at least two brain cells and does not include any throat cut gestures, go for it. This is all supposed to be fun. Right?

  • 52.
  • At 08:17 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

When they have two hakas (e.g. Samoa v. NZ) don't they perform it together? I'm sure I've seen something like that, with 30 crazed south pacific monsters ending up right in each others faces. That's quite fun.

And #18... "levitate"?!

  • 53.
  • At 08:19 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Steve T wrote:

For goodness sake, can we retain just some sense of tradition and spectacle. The Haka is a fantastic spectacle and something that opposing teams should just face in a resolute manner. What better way to respond to the Haka than to crunch in to the first tackle and shake the bones of the first All Black that gets the ball. This is how Rugby people should respond; not with bleating and whinging. By the way I am English with no connection to New Zealand, other than a love for their incredible brand of Rugby. SUMO.

  • 54.
  • At 08:20 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • CAM Edin wrote:

I think the haka is just an easy target and critising it ignores the real problem, which is why the Northern Hemisphere is (to put it bluntly) so much worse at rugby than the Southern Hemisphere.

It is not as if we are playing a different sport, and in terms of conditioning and training, any gap has long since been eliminated (note the ready transfer of coaches between Hemispheres).

However, this World Cup has clearly shown that a significant "something" remains outwith the possession of the teams of the Six Nations.

I am certainly not in a position to propose what that is, but I would argue that it is mental rather than physical.

It is widely accepted that most teams (especially in Northern Hemisphere) afford the ABs too much respect and often have lost the match before they realise they might be worthy of more. I think much of that comes down to the lack of passion in the game up here compared to what is so evident in a lusty rendition of the haka.

Although, the players and the coaches will no doubt deny this, I think rugby is still viewed as a social pursuit here (even by those paid to play it). Players aren't held accountable in the way that they are in the Southern Hemisphere. Coaches are happy to judge (and be judged) in terms of "performances" rather than results.

Everything seems so very incremental, rather than the very binary win/lose scenario that sport actually entails.

The ABs clearly see the haka as a key component in their winning mentality, and it is about time that those in the North found their own "haka" and redressed the imbalance that currently exists (and has forever existed) in World Rugby.

  • 55.
  • At 08:20 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Richard Jones wrote:

Oooh, a tricky one. This is where rugby starts to tread on the toes of national politics.

First off, I'm a Welshman who's going to move to NZ in a few months - I have family there and many, many friends. I am also, politically, of a slight liberal slant (the reason I tell you that will become clear)

The Haka that everyone knows, Ka Mate, is not a challenge, but a celebration of life over death composed by Te Rauparaha, and dates back to about 1810.

The one everyone got in a tizz about is Kapa o Pango, and is a modern composition. In other words, it has little real heritage, and was written including the lines 'Silver Fern / All Blacks! / Silver Fern / All Blacks!'

The reason that is is politically charged is that NZ culture is essentially a dichotomy, such as you see nowhere else. I love the place dearly, next to my own beautiful Cymru, but it has some strange quirks.

For instance, bi-lingual government websites do not make up for the fact that Maori descendents still make up the bottom rung of the NZ social ladder. As I said, I'm left liberal, but there is a great amount of overly liberal handwringing in NZ.

Yes, it could be worse, but what you get, at least to my eyes, is an overly patronising situation whereby the whites (Pākehā) appropriate sections of Maori culture and then congratulate themselves on their integration.

For instance - to play for the NZ Maori team (and even this rule is not hard and fast) you have to be 1/16th Maori. (The 1/16th rule stands in other parts of public life too, by the way). By that rationale, I could play international rugby for Wales, England, Ireland, Germany and Scotland, and that's just me.

So you see - a loaded argument. I don't want to see the haka done away with, but it also irritates me that they get a little precious about it from time to time. After all, it is just a dance.

I personally think it'd be worthwhile having Max Boyce doing a striptease whilst they're doing it, but that's just me :)

  • 56.
  • At 08:22 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mark, Paris wrote:

Isn't the answer, to appease both sides, to do the Haka before the National anthems?

1. The crowd get to see their spectacle
2. The tradition is maintained
3. The All Blacks don't get that psychological advantage immediately prior to kick off

Don't get rid of it, but start all international games straight after the hymns by advancing the dancing

(Ahem)

  • 57.
  • At 08:26 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Robert wrote:

Many people have pointed out that the principle of equality would work to England's disadvantage because we would have to respond to the haka with morris dancing.
I know England rugby supporters have every right to feel defeatist, but let's not be too quick to conclude that when it comes to dancing we have nothing acceptable to offer either.
I believe the floral dance is very old. But, if that's not to all tastes, what about the Lambeth Walk? Fairly traditional, I'd say. Or, perhaps not as old but certainly traditional at weddings ... the still-popular "twist".
I think we could even make a case for that unnamed, undefined, self-conscious shuffle with occasional random arm movement that most Englishmen have done at night clubs for the past few decades.
More recently, the famous David Brent dance is haka-like in certain respects and might worry the All Blacks.

  • 58.
  • At 08:26 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Too Many Times wrote:

How many more times will people who have no idea post comments about something they know nothing about? If they took the time to watch a match between NZ and Samoa, or NZ vs Tonga, or Samoa vs Tonga, or vs Fiji, they would see an extrememly appropriate response to a Haka - another one. DONE AT THE SAME TIME. Ok, so other teams don't have one - I would love it if the Celtic Nations came up with something from their long and proud history that they felt represented them and their past and future, people and culture. That would be spectacular I'm sure.

The Welsh last year decided to try and sing their anthem twice? What's that about? If they want to, of course they can, but an appropriate response to the Haka would have been singing it directly at the face of the All Blacks as they did the Haka - by choosing to effectively try and upstage the Haka is of course going to cause offense because it is a deliberate slap in the face akin to insulting your own family members to you. Bad example, but the only one I could think of.

The English are a little stuck though as they only seem to have Morris Dancers available to them to represent them. Bad luck!!

To those who feel that the Haka or others like it have no place in professional sport, they are free to go and watch soccer.

  • 59.
  • At 08:28 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Hodgetts wrote:

Nice work Andrew - I couldn't agree more.

Now, I'm as much a traditionalist as the next man and I reckon this sort of thing adds colour, soul and spectacle to sport, which is, after all, supposed to be entertainment.

And having been lucky enough to report from the New Zealand v Tonga game in Bristol at the 1999 World Cup, there's no doubt the hairs on the back of my neck sprang to attention as 30 giants performed a war dance simultaneously.

Seeing and hearing it live, in a small ground - what a buzz!

But I can't help thinking that these days the All Blacks (mainly, but you'd have to include Tonga, Samoa, Fiji if you were ever to do anything about it) get a massive psychological boost from it, while the other side is expected to stand there politely and take it.

That's like giving Tiger Woods a couple of shots head start.

Sure, part of sport is about mental strength and being able to phase out any "gamesmanship" by the opposition, but this doesn't seem very fair.

And I agree with all those who brought up the "new" Haka argument or said that until relatively recently most of the side didn't know the first thing about it. Kind of quashes the "tradition" line then, doesn't it!

So maybe we need a compromise. Maybe it should come before the anthems.

I'd hate to see it go. But then I'd hate to think the All Blacks need any more help to win this World Cup.

  • 60.
  • At 08:31 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Rose wrote:

The Haka is a Maori tradition, it was traditionally done before battle, hence why it has been adopted by New Zealand sports teams. It is important to preform overseas as it is calling to the ancestors to help and watch over the battle.
There is no 'one' Haka with different iwi and hapu (tribes and sub-tribes) having their own, however,the traditional All Blacks Haka is the most famous and well known.

I am sorry that so many of you feel hard done by watching the Haka and think it gives NZ an unfair advantage but think of it this way it exerts a lot of energy, therefore the All Blacks are actually playing a slightly longer game than the opposite team, and secondly it is a popular spectacle.

If nothing else, the Haka should stay in respect to the Maori culture of New Zealand. Finally, given New Zealand has one of the least inspiring anthems ever we need the Haka.

  • 61.
  • At 08:32 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • MTC wrote:

We should just show it up for what it is... perhaps the english boys could do some morris dancing while they do it, the irish a quick jig... We shouldn't dignify it by bothering to watch let them prance about if they want but they shouldn't get special treatment.

  • 62.
  • At 08:45 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • willy wrote:

Have to say that the haka makes watching the ABs a special occasion but I think that opposite teams should front up or encircle them to psyche them out. Why single out the ABs, what about 'Irelands Call'???

  • 63.
  • At 08:45 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Oncle Bob wrote:

Well said Andrew! All of these dances/challenges should be done in the dressing room or during the warm up if it means so much to the All Blacks and the Pacific Islanders. It's a modern professional game and the Haka and its cousins are a relic of a bygone quaint era. Get shot of them and get over it. The only fun to be had is watching these burly he-men from NZ spit the dummy out if anyone 'disrespects' their war dance. Willie Anderson had the right idea in 1989! But that's all past, bin it and stop crying.

  • 64.
  • At 08:47 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Douglas wrote:

What a lot of fuss about nothing. That is what it is after all.

I was under the impression that Rugby was a tough game played by tough men. If you are scared off by a little arm waving, grunting and tongue showing how will you have the nerve to actually tackle your opponent?

I am really indifferent to the Haka especially the version performed by the AB. I have watched a "traditional" Haka while on holiday in NZ and it was far more intimidating than what you see on the Rugby field.

If the AB feels that they must keep this then why not allow others to respond or are they afraid of being intimidated. Personally I would like to see Scotland bring on some pipers to deafen their opponents; it may give them a better chance of actually winning something.

But really this is all a big fuss over nothing. AB, dry your eyes and get on with life!

  • 65.
  • At 08:54 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tom White wrote:

Yeah, get rid of it. Why should NZ (or any other team) get special treatment? Same treatment for all please. What's hard to understand about that?

  • 66.
  • At 08:56 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Dave in France wrote:

Are we all so far behind the All Blacks that the only way we can get back at them is to whine about the Haka???

Why not try and beat them on the field, now thats a novel idea, dont you think?

  • 67.
  • At 09:01 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Haka wrote:

The Haka is traditional. Doing a Haka doesn't just apply to rugby as many sports people from New Zealand chose to do it. The basketball team does I know that not sure about others though. Its part of our tradition and nobody can deny its part of the rugby tradition.

No one complained about it when we lost the last four world cups did they? It didn't help us much then.

We have no problems with replies, in Australia they sing waltzing matilida during the haka, its their choice.

And to prove we don't do it just to get the "upper hand" when wales didn't want us doing it we did it in the changing rooms, it is a part of the players to do it for themselves.

The day the haka is gone we will all truly know rugby have lost its uniqueness, and become something like soccer, American football, or baseball. Super commercialized, overly professional, and more importantly BORING.

But from the standard of play of northern hemisphere teams this year maybe that is what they want.

Rugby is the important thing, the 8 minutes on the field. Forget about everything around it.

  • 68.
  • At 09:02 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Alistair wrote:

As a Brit living in NZ, I believe that both sides of the argument have value. The Haka is a great way to challenge the opposition, so then why don't the other teams reply in kind? I would love to see England do the Morris Dance, the Scots doing the Gay Gordon, the Irish with Riverdance, the Argentines with the Tango perhaps, and so on...
What is really annoying, is that the ABs get to do 2 songs and a dance - after all their anthem is the same song sung twice, once in English and once in Maori. It is bad enough listening to that bloody awful 'God Save the Queen' - who is after all also the Queen of NZ, Oz, Wales, Scotland and part of Ireland! Change the English anthem, allow every team to do a 'cultural heritage' piece and cut out the 2nd songs - especially that twit who walks round singing 'Waltzing Matilda'!
As for Jason, mate, I have found Kiwis to be some of the most arrogant people ever - I should know, I married one :-)

  • 69.
  • At 09:03 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • jccole wrote:

The Haka!
Does it give an advantage to the AB's,or does it encourage their opponents (who ever they are)
to try even harder to beat them?
We comment on this "because" it is the AB's!
Would we even bother if was (and no disrespect intended) Portugal?

  • 70.
  • At 09:03 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Douglas wrote:

What a lot of fuss about nothing. That is what it is after all.

I was under the impression that Rugby was a tough game played by tough men. If you are scared off by a little arm waving, grunting and tongue showing how will you have the nerve to actually tackle your opponent?

I am really indifferent to the Haka especially the version performed by the AB. I have watched a "traditional" Haka while on holiday in NZ and it was far more intimidating than what you see on the Rugby field.

If the AB feels that they must keep this then why not allow others to respond or are they afraid of being intimidated. Personally I would like to see Scotland bring on some pipers to deafen their opponents; it may give them a better chance of actually winning something.

But really this is all a big fuss over nothing. AB, dry your eyes and get on with life!

  • 71.
  • At 09:07 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Dave in France wrote:

Are we all so far behind the All Blacks that the only way we can get back at them is to whine about the Haka???

Why not try and beat them on the field, now thats a novel idea, dont you think?

  • 72.
  • At 09:12 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Currie wrote:

hmmmm....interesting comments...would like too know how many have been posted by whinging bloody poms, i mean if the queen wnats to come and shake the players hands prior to a match i bet you would all be happy to see it. Rugby as a sport is just taking on a greater world audience, and lets face it people its not from Johnny Wilkinson kicking drop goals to win matches, it is a result of the style of rugby that the all blacks play and the culture they bring to the sport. I ask you would you be complaining if your beloved England weren not playing like a third devision team from New Zealand. Prisoners of Modern Britain stop yah whinging and enjoy some of the greatest rugby ever seen and also the culture that is rugby and the world cup.

  • 73.
  • At 09:16 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Shachar wrote:

When the Brits get rid of the royal family we will consider stopping the Haka. Then again the Haka is an older and prouder tradition, so we'll keep it even when the Royals are finally dismissed. The correct response to the Haka is to extend your pakeha tongue out toward the ground in front of your opponents and prepare to get your backsides whipped!!

  • 74.
  • At 09:19 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • george Parker wrote:

Let the Haka continue, it is part of the International game and a sight to behold.
But answer me this.....why do the English team use 'God Save the Queen' as their National Anthem. It is not , it is a British national anthem hijacked by the English. Let them derive their own and let them not steal our collective nations anthem. I leave the room when this is played for the English team, it is an insult to the anthem.

  • 75.
  • At 09:19 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Lucy wrote:

I dont think the haka should be banned, it's one of the things you look forward too when watching NZ.
I do agree however that teams should be aloud to retaliate, morris dancing is far scarier then the haka. The irish could do river dancing, the welsh some sort of sheep herding, and the scottish can wear their kilts and do what we're all thinking.......

  • 76.
  • At 09:20 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Kelvin Faulkner wrote:

The haka has been performed by the All Blacks for as long as they have been playing rugby. It's an accepted tradition. As many have already pointed out the watching crowds have been disappointed when it hasn't been allowed. I love it and proud to be a kiwi when I see it. I'm obviously biased.

I don't have any problems with opposing teams performing their own (short) dance/ritual/etc if that would help them prepare for the game.

However, I suspect a lot of the negative noise about this is driven by jealousy. Where is the same noise about the other pacific island teams routines?

  • 77.
  • At 09:27 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • George wrote:

Bored of the Haka, bored of the insulted kiwis. What ever happened to the Haka of the 80's when they stood in a semi circle? Now it looks like a terrace of football fans with little or no form.

Shut up, get on with playing, lose to Australia, then go home and mope.

  • 78.
  • At 09:27 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Lee Halford wrote:

The main arguement here is "do the AB's get an added advantage if they are allowed an extra anthem - traditional or not!" The answer has to be yes, even if the advantage is very slight.

The next question then has to be "so what do we do? Stop it or allow a right of reply ......and then there's who should go first?"

I have to say that watching Tonga and Samoa doing there own versions at their match in the RWC almost seemed like watching pantomime. So maybe the answer should be to stop it all together.

However, whilst rather enjoying the idea of the traditional Scottish reply involving the raising of kilts, personally, as an Englishman I long for the day when an English team replies to the Hakka by the entire team clenching their right fist and raising it in a fierce upward jesture until the bicep hits the left hand's downturned palm, whilst politely shouting "Up Yours!!!!"

  • 79.
  • At 09:28 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • carterisagod wrote:

The last time the pre-kick off challenge issue was discussed by the IRB, prior to the last world cup it was suggested that nations such as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga should be prevented from performing their challenges. This was because the haka they perform do not actually exist in their cultures and they have been put together specifically with Rugby in mind. I believe they definitely made the right choice in keeping them. In my view the traditional performance of kamate prior to kick off is as sacred as when the Maori battalion performed it prior to going over the top in Cassino. You obviously wrote this blog to get a reaction and yes we are precious about it in NZ, but you obviously have no idea how patriotic and galvanised haka makes us feel in NZ. It might be a new phenomenon as some point out but wouldn't England like something more than a slave song introducd in 1988 when they finally broke their try drought of 2 and half years. Take it away, ban it if you will. We will still do it in the dressing room ... The world will just be a poorer place.

  • 80.
  • At 09:28 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Worsley wrote:

I have read the threads with interest, and noted the points on both sides and have found myself falling down on the anti-haka brigade.

I should then hasten to add my reasons why, which are three fold;

There are the traditionalists who believe that the all blacks have been doing it for so long that the precedent has already been set, so there. Absolutely right, we all want to see the haka, but as has been rightly pointed out, there is nothing to stop them doing it before the anthems, or doing it within a circle.

Then there are those who insist on the historical/colonial factor, that the Kiwis have the right due to the past. This is rugby, not football, the spirit of rugby has it's origins in amateur sport. It has honour, dignity and respect. The haka has all three elements in itself when viewed in isolation, but when done in front of the opposition loses some of all three. The argument also loses its impact when one realises that the all blacks weren't the first to perform the haka.

The final reason is that, as has been pointed out, why shouldn't the English resort to Morris dancers, the Irish to Lord of the Dance style routines, the Scots a Braveheart ensemble complete with traditional sword (the name of which escapes me). In fact, why not wheel out the Gullotine when the French play?

The absurdity of the above suggestions is deliberate, I for one don't one to see the game descend into an America eye-candy fest.

The haka IS an important part of the game, but performed before the kick off is (however minor, as I believe it is) an unfair pyschological advantage and thus against the true spirit of the game.

  • 81.
  • At 09:34 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Marcus wrote:

What a ridiculous world we live in! People using political correctness to outhwart the political correctness behind the tradition of the Haka. Who cares if the have the last say and outdo the opposition on the prematch festivities.

Although the Haka may not traditionally be meant as a challenge it has taken that role in world rugby. I'd much rather England, or whoever is playing against them, responded by winning the game than with a teary eyed rendition of God save the queen from Lawrence Dallaglio.

  • 82.
  • At 09:40 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mac wrote:

The biggest issue I have with the Haka is just how precious the kiwi's have become about it, and more so in the past 3 or 4 years. its almost like some sort of catholic ceremony now, where your mother tells you off if you talk during mass.

For a call to battle, they seem very scared to let anyone respond to it. If anyone does anything against it, they moan for days afterwads about it being disrespectful. You can't ignore it a la Italy at the start of the rwc, you can't face it down because thats disrespectful. It is apparently more important than the home teams own anthem,fair play to wales for forcing them to do it in the changing room. What exactly are you supposed to do while they are prancing around in what has become a giant ad for adidas. O'Driscoll dropped a fern leaf in response following some bad advise and they were so angry they tried to insert him in the ground like a flag pole during the lions.

At least the aussies have a bit of a laugh when you watch rugby with them; kiwis are just becoming like that frigid maiden aunt that never lets you have any fun whenever they are around.

  • 83.
  • At 09:45 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • steve wrote:

Tradition is no absolute justification for anything. We are lead to believe female genital mutilation is traditional; doesn't make it right. I'm glad to see so many comments criticizing the AB's and many New Zealanders' arrogant attitude towards the haka. About time.

  • 84.
  • At 09:46 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Well like all things in life( with the exception of English rugby) .The haka has "evolved."Thats why it isnt what it was years ago.Its been changed,analysed,made better.Perhaps if English rugby had undergone the same process,then perhaps it wouldnt look like the throwback that it is.
Take out the haka and then whats left? Boring anthems. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."God save the queen".zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The haka adds to the pagentry which rugby has.And lets not forget that most of the pacific nations have their own version of the haka.Clearly you have no understanding of the sentiments of these nations and their perfoming of it.If the haka is banned then so should the singing "Swing low,sweet chariot".Id like to see that happen.NH is grasping at straws at the moment.And if further confirmation is needed about the popularity of the haka.look no further than USA.THey love it

  • 85.
  • At 09:48 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Worsley wrote:

I have read the threads with interest, and noted the points on both sides and have found myself falling down on the anti-haka brigade.

I should then hasten to add my reasons why, which are three fold;

There are the traditionalists who believe that the all blacks have been doing it for so long that the precedent has already been set, so there. Absolutely right, we all want to see the haka, but as has been rightly pointed out, there is nothing to stop them doing it before the anthems, or doing it within a circle. Or, hey, before the spectators..

Then there are those who insist on the historical/colonial factor, that the Kiwis have the right due to the past. This is rugby, not football, the spirit of rugby has it's origins in amateur sport. It has honour, dignity and respect. The haka has all three elements in itself when viewed in isolation, but when done in front of the opposition loses some of all three. The argument also loses its impact when one realises that the all blacks weren't the first to perform the haka.

The final reason is that, as has been pointed out, why shouldn't the English resort to Morris dancers, the Irish to Lord of the Dance style routines, the Scots a Braveheart ensemble complete with traditional sword (the name of which escapes me). In fact, why not wheel out the Gullotine when the French play?

The absurdity of the above suggestions is deliberate, I for one don't one to see the game descend into an America eye-candy fest.

The haka IS an important part of the game, but performed before the kick off is (however minor, as I believe it is) an unfair pyschological advantage and thus against the true spirit of the game.

  • 86.
  • At 09:51 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Jim from Croydon wrote:

Remember when Willie Anderson walked some of the Irish team into the middle of it at Landsdowne Road - it didn't go down too well

  • 87.
  • At 09:51 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • shane wright wrote:

Let the Haka stay, it was around on the rugby field long before any one of us were alive. The Haka may have changed lately but that does not mean it's not "traditional"..many years ago the All Blacks did a very comical Haka that was preformed facing the crowd with the blokes laughing as they did it-didn't seem to bother anyone then.

Scotland showed up in an away style strip against the All Blacks..does this suggest it was a home game for the All Blacks?...if so then let the host do their thing....if not then let your guests do their own thing as well.

World cup year and the scotish team turn up with some no hopers...shame on you scotland. Show some gut's and get stuck in. Your failure to field your best against a truely testing side was more disgusting then any song and dance.

  • 88.
  • At 09:52 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • shane wright wrote:

Let the Haka stay, it was around on the rugby field long before any one of us were alive. The Haka may have changed lately but that does not mean it's not "traditional"..many years ago the All Blacks did a very comical Haka that was preformed facing the crowd with the blokes laughing as they did it-didn't seem to bother anyone then.

Scotland showed up in an away style strip against the All Blacks..does this suggest it was a home game for the All Blacks?...if so then let the host do their thing....if not then let your guests do their own thing as well.

World cup year and the scotish team turn up with some no hopers...shame on you scotland. Show some gut's and get stuck in. Your failure to field your best against a truely testing side was more disgusting then any song and dance.

  • 89.
  • At 10:00 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • steve wrote:

Tradition is no absolute justification for anything. We are lead to believe female genital mutilation is traditional; doesn't make it right. I'm glad to see so many comments criticizing the AB's and many New Zealanders' arrogant attitude towards the haka. About time.

  • 90.
  • At 10:01 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Evo wrote:

If they want to perform the Haka, then fine. But to demand that other teams dont reply and "respect" it is petulance in the extreme. The Haka today is simply a marketing gimmick, performed mostly by Fijians/Tongans and white European heritage players, completely negating the point of showing of NZ Maori culture, think Tim Westwood on the rugby field...

  • 91.
  • At 10:05 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Lance Mason wrote:

I am not a Kiwi but lived there for many years, even played rugby there decades ago. I get a kick out of the haka, but I always cringe when Kiwis and AB fans get precious about it, especially in someone else's ground. The Wales face-off was probably the good result -- If you can't be even-handed about it on the pitch, i.e. accept a response to your challenge, then do it in the changing room. If AB fans miss it, then they can petition the NZRFU and the Maori experts to come up with an even-handed solution. But the idea that NZ should have the one-and-only say is puerile.

  • 92.
  • At 10:06 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Drunk Taff wrote:

There is actually a little-known 'Welsh haka' - no doubt some careful googling will produce a video clip...

Personally i love the haka, although i can see the argument against it. I guess i just like the way it's become a tradition and as a neutral it does stir the blood.

  • 93.
  • At 10:06 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tommy McLeod wrote:

If you cant face a challenge on the pitch from any pacific nation then you may as well pack your bags and go home. Haka or no Haka, the result will be the same, complaining about it just makes you look like bad sports.

I notice there were no complaints about the Haka at the last world cup? Perhaps thats because you actually played rugby?

Dry your eyes nancy boys.

  • 94.
  • At 10:09 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Ieuan wrote:

I love the Haka. But I honestly believe it should be that OR the anthem and they should perform it in place of the anthem, whether that is first or second.

  • 95.
  • At 10:10 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Barrie Richards wrote:

Haka......kids love it !

I say let it be. The all blacks are so sensitive over it, if a team were to demand a retort NZ would probably walk off the pitch.

I would just like to see a team walk into the middle of them and eye ball their opposite numbers until it all kicks off.

As for morris dancing they need not - England are already shocking the world with their lack of rugby skills........

  • 96.
  • At 10:18 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Kenny wrote:

Who are you exactly? The Haka has been around for years and is an integral part of the game and attracts interest from those who might not normally watch rugby. A very misguided piece of writing.

  • 97.
  • At 10:19 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew Cotter wrote:

Like all rugby fans I grew up with and loved watching the Haka.

None of what I said was prompted by the fact that 'We can't beat the All Blacks on the pitch so let's have a go at The Haka' My country has never beaten New Zealand and I have always been full of total admiration for the way they play the game (and jealousy for the talents of Ali Williams and his Scottish parentage.)I am certainly not deluded enough to think that if New Zealand didn't get the psychological lift of doing it just before kick-off then suddenly other sides might be able to beat them. But any psychological edge, no matter how small, should not be allowed. That's why home sides get to have their anthem second. In that respect, every game for The All Blacks is a home game.

So my problems are firstly the timing of it - immediately before kick-off.

Secondly the fact that the New Zealand side can be so sensitive as to be offended by the manner in which some opposing teams have chosen to meet it.

And thirdly, that they can start doing a new version of the Haka. If the defence is tradition (and that's a good defence - tradition is wonderful in rugby and sport as a whole)then how can you change it?

  • 98.
  • At 10:19 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Kenny wrote:

Who are you exactly? The Haka has been around for years and is an integral part of the game and attracts interest from those who might not normally watch rugby. A very misguided piece of writing.

  • 99.
  • At 10:22 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Robert wrote:

ban it? NO!!! but give every country the right to reply - yes!

its a magnificent spectacle when Samoa, Tonga, Fiji or New Zealand meet in the World Cup with both countries having their war dances before kick-off. surley Scotland (along with other nations) could find something equally inspiring before games? (so long as it aint embarrasing)

what really anoys me though is the fact that all the pacific nations are allowed their war dances - yet rumour is that last time round the IRB denied scotland the right to have our national anthem played on an instument that is as much - if not more - a part of scotland as the haka is new zealand. and the result is, well, terible! no disrepect to whoever recorded our anthem for the WC, im sure they are great musicians, but it just doesnt sound right played by a brass band. So while New Zealand perform their haka before every game - scotland arent even allowed to have our anthem played the way we like it? a disgraceful example of double standards by the IRB.

  • 100.
  • At 10:22 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • jimjam wrote:

In response to the English national anthem - at least it's over with quickly and we don't have several droning verses. Personally I'd rather hear Jerusalem as it's much more stiring.

Perhaps in response to the Haka we should form two lines of men, one stood, one kneeling, wait for them to finish and 'shoot' them with our 'muskets'? That was traditional too! ;-)

  • 101.
  • At 10:25 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Leave the HAKA ALONE, its tradition, and a pleasure to watch unlike the rugby crap us brits seem to flap on about and as for that glass player wilkinson who falls down injured everytime anybody so much as looks in his diretion and its a game of rugby not soccer ,the object is to score tries not kicking goals like beckham. from an Englishman whose ticked right off with EXCUSES for trying to take any enjoyment out of this beautiful game,if the English teams did a haka it would most probibly be THE HOKEY COKEY.

LEAVE IT ALONE and all the other hakas as well there BRILLIANT

  • 102.
  • At 10:27 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Dai Rally wrote:

RE KiwiMark no 56
You should practise what you preach my friend about history. You may well be clued up about yours, but it does not sound like you know much about Europe at the start of the Twentieth century, or what little you do know is about England, and think this applies to the whole of the Northern Hemisphere.
Anyway, to correct you from a Welsh point of view, I dont think you would have found too many "Victorian or Edwardian Middle Class" coal miners, steelworkers or farmers in the South Wales valleys at that time.
Not very good at playing rugby now we may be, but we were never Middle Class Elitist Snobs as you ignorantly say.
Regards

  • 103.
  • At 10:29 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Lawther wrote:

The HAKA was ok when you only saw NZ once a year on tele but now the novelty has gone out of it.
Give it up.
And while we are at it start introducing the Football rules - if you require medical attention - you ahve to leave the field until the referee allows you back on!
If there is a scrum or a lineout and a hooker or prop is off the field then it is a free kick to the opposition!

  • 104.
  • At 10:30 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Danglyballs wrote:

Its up to the other nations to come up with a proper response rather than moaning about it. if the kiwis want to waste energy dancing let them. the haka is throwing down a challenge and that's it. there is no advantage in it. it could even work against them because it could inspire the other team to take it up. Don't ignore it embrace it, teams that try and pretend its not happening end up looking stupid and the blade of grass thing was "thinking too much" about it. didn't that backfire spectacularly?? its basically up to the rest to pick up the gauntlet and stuff it back up them, stop moaning!

  • 105.
  • At 10:33 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Well being an NZder it’s more a national sense of pride than the anthem for a lot of true sport people. I think you need to take your head out of your ass stop being manipulated from your media. The Haka is a challenge to your opponent and honestly I think most NZders and players would rather see a challenge back the only people who think that is disrespectful are you and your media. Ozie challenges it by forming a line a singing walsing matilda. If you want to disrespect it on the field do it, but all you do is motivate the team to annihilate you even more and show that you just ballsed out and how much fear you have in playing the All Blacks to start with.

There would be no psychological effect if you didn’t fear them to start with and what kind of bullshit argument is that you should be maxed out on psychological effect as soon as you take the field you’re playing for your country dam it. Don’t NH people have any pride? When I’ve put on the black shirt on for others sports I feel 10 feet tall and couldn’t feel any more amped and ready to go.

The anti Haka brigade is just trying to hide the true reason from themselves why their side is not winning. At the moment the IRB shouldn’t be reducing the world cup down to 16 teams, it should be 4 teams and give the final token spot to a playoff between pumas and the winner of the 6N to make up numbers.

THE ALL BLACKS DON”T WIN BECAUSE OF THE HAKA. The win because they are simply far better team than NH teams and until NH stop denying that and can get it through their heads they need to improve or they will continue to be cannon fodder 9/10 games they play.

  • 106.
  • At 10:33 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Worzel wrote:

For all the "indignant down under" brigade, who have started talking down to the "ignorant of the haka's value (cultural or otherwise)" debaters, nobody has suggested it should be banned, so chill.

The game of rugby itself should be above all this, hence the debate that it should be performed in a different setting. The debate has been around since the World Cup started, regardless of who won every four years.

  • 107.
  • At 10:34 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Just for a little bit of perspective...

Does anyone remember the game between Wales and New Zealand a few years ago? The All-Blacks "allowed" the Welsh is sing their anthem last. However, it turned out later that they felt it had just been a favour. When the Welsh planned to do the same at the next match (both of these games where in Wales), the All-Blacks declined to do the haka on the basis that if they did not get their own way and perform it last, they would not do it.

What gives the All-Blacks the right to perform the haka just before kick-off? Absolutely nothing. The home team should have the chance to sing their anthem/perform their dance just before kick-off. That would be much fairer.

I personally feel the haka should be scrapped. The cultural heritage line is rubbish (not performing the haka is hardly a slight to the culture of the Maori) and I find the haka boring repetitive and cringe-worthy. However I do accept others feel differently.

My main problem is the fact that because no-one has stood up to them before, the New Zealand team bosses feel they have the god-given right to perform last. That is plainly false. Keep the haka, but don't make it so sacrosanct.

  • 108.
  • At 10:38 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Well being an NZder it’s more a national sense of pride than the anthem for a lot of true sport people. I think you need to take your head out of your ass stop being manipulated from your media. The Haka is a challenge to your opponent and honestly I think most NZders and players would rather see a challenge back the only people who think that is disrespectful are you and your media. Ozie challenges it by forming a line a singing walsing matilda. If you want to disrespect it on the field do it, but all you do is motivate the team to annihilate you even more and show that you just ballsed out and how much fear you have in playing the All Blacks to start with.

There would be no psychological effect if you didn’t fear them to start with and what kind of bullshit argument is that you should be maxed out on psychological effect as soon as you take the field you’re playing for your country dam it. Don’t NH people have any pride? When I’ve put on the black shirt on for others sports I feel 10 feet tall and couldn’t feel any more amped and ready to go.

The anti Haka brigade is just trying to hide the true reason from themselves why their side is not winning. At the moment the IRB shouldn’t be reducing the world cup down to 16 teams, it should be 4 teams and give the final token spot to a playoff between pumas and the winner of the 6N to make up numbers.

THE ALL BLACKS DON”T WIN BECAUSE OF THE HAKA. The win because they are simply far better team than NH teams and until NH stop denying that and can get it through their heads they need to improve or they will continue to be cannon fodder 9/10 games they play.

  • 109.
  • At 10:38 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • darran mather wrote:

to see a white european descendent performing The Haka for the AB's is simply embarrassing. That Williams guy (the lock) goes way over the top and looks simply ridiculous and foolish. Its a maori war challenge for gods sake not a disco dance for posh NZ boys from Auckland. Watch the Kiwis League team (all direct maori descendents) do the Haka - that is quality as opposed to dan carter looking all 'im hard'!! Ridiculous!! Its a pity that everytime the BBC show edited highlights of the Kiwis on Grandstand they rather conveniently edit out The Haka from the programme as though it remains the exclusive property of the posh white boys from auckland!! Give us a break.

  • 110.
  • At 10:38 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Tonga, Fiji, Samoa all do haka, you don't seem too concerned at them! The reason you don't like it is that the All Blacks beat you so badly 99 times out of 100 and you think this adds to the edge. What rubbish. Other teams should take inspiration from it and use it, its a challenge! In New Zealand school teams perform a haka before the game. I still remember mine and it makes me feel proud. Its part of our culture.
You don't like it when your teams get mulched.
GO BLACK! KIA KAHA!!

  • 111.
  • At 10:40 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • jimjam wrote:

In response to the English national anthem - at least it's over with quickly and we don't have several droning verses. Personally I'd rather hear Jerusalem as it's much more stiring.

Perhaps in response to the Haka we should form two lines of men, one stood, one kneeling, wait for them to finish and 'shoot' them with our 'muskets'? That was traditional too! ;-)

  • 112.
  • At 10:40 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

In 2005 I think that the welsh responded to the Haka by singing Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer. Personally I thought that it was a fitting response being the vocal equivalent in welsh rugby. The song has an iconic staus amongst the fans and it was well received...

  • 113.
  • At 10:42 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • M J James wrote:

The response of any team faced with the AB Haka should be to shoot 3 of them out of hand thus making the game more even; with the possibility of an upset more likely but not guaranteed!

Haka or no Haka is just so much tosh.
Concentrating on beating them over 80 mins is far more important.

  • 114.
  • At 10:43 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • James Brittain wrote:

OK, here it is...

22 Englishmen line up in formation. Tap their feet twice and clap.
Tap their feet twice and clap.

Boom-Boom-Clap
Boom-Boom-Clap

WE WILL, WE WILL, ROCK YOU!!
WE WILL, WE WILL, ROCK YOU!!

i know you're singing it ;);)

  • 115.
  • At 10:47 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Sorry fellas, but serious questions have to be asked if people who are intimidated by the Haka are being selected to play rugby for their country.

Next thing you'll be telling me that international rugby players will wet themselves and jump to one side just because the other fellas are wearing black jerseys and have a bit of a reputation.

Oh, wait.......

  • 116.
  • At 10:47 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Guys...some of the comments on here are silly imo. "repungent throat slitting"? Get over yourself. The Haka is one of the spectacles of rugby and to see it go would be a sad day for world rugby. As mentioned, no one complains about Tonga's version, or the other pacific islands.

Get over yourselves and just enjoy it!

And Andrew Cotter, you wasted your time and money on a childish whine :)

  • 117.
  • At 10:52 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

Personally I love the Haka. I'm a Scot, watched the game, felt proud of the performance and think the performed well given the fact that everything in NZ focuses on the national game of Rugby.
That aside, personally I wouldn't want to face a Haka at any point before a game. If I was captaining an opposing team I would say just tot off to the other end of the pitch and ignore it. Pass the ball around among yourselves. It's not disrespectful not to face it in the same way as it is not disrespectful to perform it. It's all about the rugby on the field of play and simply doing what you think it good preparation for it.

just my tuppence worth!

  • 118.
  • At 10:53 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Gethin wrote:

Well, I'm not hacked off with the Haka. But must say its the McDonald's of the Rugby Haka World. I love to see the true grit and honesty shown by Fiji, Tonga and Samoa when they perform theirs before the game. But the All Blacks has more of a brand name, organisation and a fake professional feel to it I find it pointless. Before I get slated by Nzers. I understand the spiritual, and traditional values of the Haka.

  • 119.
  • At 10:53 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew Cotter wrote:

Like all rugby fans I grew up with and loved watching the Haka.

None of what I said was prompted by the fact that 'We can't beat the All Blacks on the pitch so let's have a go at The Haka' My country has never beaten New Zealand and I have always been full of total admiration for the way they play the game (and jealousy for the talents of Ali Williams and his Scottish parentage.)I am certainly not deluded enough to think that if New Zealand didn't get the psychological lift of doing it just before kick-off then suddenly other sides might be able to beat them. But any psychological edge, no matter how small, should not be allowed. That's why home sides get to have their anthem second. In that respect, every game for The All Blacks is a home game.

So my problems are firstly the timing of it - immediately before kick-off.

Secondly the fact that the New Zealand side can be so sensitive as to be offended by the manner in which some opposing teams have chosen to meet it.

And thirdly, that they can start doing a new version of the Haka. If the defence is tradition (and that's a good defence - tradition is wonderful in rugby and sport as a whole)then how can you change it?

  • 120.
  • At 10:54 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Jimbo wrote:

If the kiwis (and those from seemingly any other island within 1,000 miles who constitute a significant proportion of their team) want to prance around before a game, that's fine - it hasn't helped them for the last 20 years has it?

What I do object to is their childish, petulant demands that the whole world "respects" them. Grow up guys. You play great rugby, and acting like a bunch of over-sensitive infants who feel that the World Cup is theirs by right just demeans you. Dish it out, but can't take it - sort it out!

  • 121.
  • At 10:56 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Doug wrote:

Whether or not it provides an advantage is surely down to how the side 'facing' the Haka reacts? You have to allow yourself to be intimidated remember, and I don't believe that any of the players in RWC are up for that.

It's a challenge, plain & simple - face up to it, use it to fire yourself up and prove a point. And if you're not up to it, then why are you on the pitch?

I'd have given a b0llock to be out there and face up to the Haka delivered with the sort of passion the AB's give it nowadays.

Keep it going - it was the highlight of Sunday's 'spectacle'!

  • 122.
  • At 10:56 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Well being an NZder it’s more a national sense of pride than the anthem for a lot of true sport people. I think you need to take your head out of your ass stop being manipulated from your media. The Haka is a challenge to your opponent and honestly I think most NZders and players would rather see a challenge back the only people who think that is disrespectful are you and your media. Ozie challenges it by forming a line a singing walsing matilda. If you want to disrespect it on the field do it, but all you do is motivate the team to annihilate you even more and show that you just balls out and how much fear you have in playing the All Blacks to start with.

There would be no psychological effect if you didn’t fear them to start with and what kind of bullshit argument is that you should be maxed out on psychological effect as soon as you take the field you’re playing for your country dam it. Don’t NH people have any pride? When I’ve put on the black shirt on for others sports I feel 10 feet tall and couldn’t feel any more amped and ready to go.

The anti Haka brigade is just trying to hide the true reason from themselves why their side is not winning. At the moment the IRB shouldn’t be reducing the world cup down to 16 teams, it should be 4 teams and give the final token spot to a playoff between pumas and the winner of the 6N to make up numbers.

THE ALL BLACKS DON”T WIN BECAUSE OF THE HAKA. The win because they are simply far better team than NH teams and until NH stop denying that and can get it through their heads they need to improve or they will continue to be cannon fodder 9/10 games they play.

  • 123.
  • At 10:57 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tom Davies wrote:

The Haka should stay after the anthems as it always has its a tradition that should never end!!

  • 124.
  • At 10:59 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • George Thomson wrote:

I am an Englishman who has lived in NZ for 20 odd years and who has the greatest respect for NZ rugby. The fact that there is now some controversy over the performance of the Haka should not detract from the fact that, compared to other nations, NZ have maintained a consistently magnificent standard of rugby throughout the years.

As regards the Haka, my view is that it should be seen as part of the drama of the international stage. Yes, the Kiwis do get very precious when other teams don't give it the respect they feel it deserves, but that is because they feel that disrepect to the Haka means disrepect to the All Blacks themselves.

You can have great fun here in NZ by bagging the Haka and the All Blacks (in jest) and then standing by and watching as this normally wonderfully easygoing and friendly people turn into one-eyed fanatics. They take their rugby very, very seriously indeed here.

Kiwis should lighten up about other teams' reactions to the Haka and if everyone else wants to get in on the act then fine. Let England perform the Anglo-Saxon Death Chant of Maldon or Scotland bare their essentials. It all adds to the drama.

But should the Haka be banned ? Definitely not, just seen as part of the game.

  • 125.
  • At 11:01 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Sorry fellas, but serious questions have to be asked if people who are intimidated by the Haka are being selected to play rugby for their country.

Next thing you'll be telling me that international rugby players will wet themselves and jump to one side just because the other fellas are wearing black jerseys and have a bit of a reputation.

Oh, wait.......

  • 126.
  • At 11:02 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Blair Couper wrote:

1) If your team can't face the challenge of the haka they clearly can't face the challenge of the AB's. Deal with it and harden up!

2) Facing the haka is probably as uplifting as doing it. Don't whinge like a bunch of little girls, embrace it, face the All Blacks and tell them to bring it on. Ours is not a gentle game. Are you men or boys?

3) With all your complaining why is it that so much of the media coverage of the world cup is the men in black and their little dance??

  • 127.
  • At 11:04 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Re comment 52, Declan,

In your view what exactly is a New Zealander? Are they a certain race or colour.

NZ is not the largely white bastion that many ignorant Europeans believe. Don't judge us by your own standards.

  • 128.
  • At 11:04 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Guys...some of the comments on here are silly imo. "repungent throat slitting"? Get over yourself. The Haka is one of the spectacles of rugby and to see it go would be a sad day for world rugby. As mentioned, no one complains about Tonga's version, or the other pacific islands.

Get over yourselves and just enjoy it!

  • 129.
  • At 11:05 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Nordhoff wrote:

The daft thing is that the Haka is supposed to be a Maori challeng but a large percentage of the New Zealand rugby team are of European descent,what right do they have to peform this ritual anyway???

  • 130.
  • At 11:15 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tom Davies wrote:

The Haka should stay after the anthems as it always has its a tradition that should never end!!

  • 131.
  • At 11:15 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Benjamin wrote:

The haka is part of the new zealand culture, much like the other island nations. Its not New Zealands fault that other countries do not take there heritage seriously, i'm sure that if someone like australia fully welcomed the aboriginal culture before all the convicts came that they too would have a version of a challenge, maybe more countries too.

  • 132.
  • At 11:16 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

I am disappointed to see that this issue of the Haka has raised it's ugly head again.

Yes I am a kiwi and as such I have been brought up with the Haka. Arguements that because the Haka has changed it is no longer traditional are laughable. The essense of the Haka is that it is a challenge it doesn't matter what form it comes in. The NZ Haka has become part of what rugby is........many not rugby followers may watch a game to see the Haka and that can't be a bad thing.
Lastly and probably my main point, many of this columns readers mention the unfair pyschological advantage the AB's get by performing it before the game.....My answer is simply this....If you think that you need to do a dance to get fired up and motivated to play for your country in a test match....then you shouldn't be playing for your country.......

  • 133.
  • At 11:16 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Bryan J wrote:

Couldn't agree more. Yes the Haka is a great spectacle, but why should another team dictate anything at Murryfield, the millenium stadium, or indeed any stadium that is not their own.

The Welsh not allowing the Haka was great, it's time other nations stood up to the AB's and told them where to shove the Haka. Bring back the days of the Irish marching into the centre of the Haka as it's getting performed, the Welsh belting out the anthem at full voice.

Yes the AB's are the best team in the world and we should respect the so called traditional Haka, although having seen it performed before the era of Buck and the mid 80's team, it was nothing but a little show, part of the entertainment, which the players themsleves seemed embarressed to perform, check out any of the you tube footage. So this passionate 'tradition' is all rubbish. let the AB's perform it at home last and let them bow to their hosts wishes while touring.

  • 134.
  • At 11:18 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • alan brown wrote:

There is nothing wrong or beneficial about the HAKA, i was recently at an event where Sean Fitzpatrick spoke about the origins of this and it was more about preparing for battle rather than a challenge, regardless if it has been changed it is still a rugby tradition and not just a NZ thing, perhaps it should stay and the stuffy folks should GO?

  • 135.
  • At 11:19 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • kjy wrote:

I think you need to go away and do some proper research about what a haka means, which is what you probably should have done before you wrote this article. There has never been one haka, there are many, and they can be created so your point about tradition is ignorant and wrong.

Also the other team can respond to the challenge - surely you have watched NZ play Samoa before, since you are such an authority on the game. But singing a song is not a challenge and neither is singing an anthem - its an anthem! So do your response then - there's no problem.

There is an accepted way to face the haka, but if you chose to ignore that then so be it, and all the better to NZ - do you understand what that means if you do that Mr Authority?

And once again there is a lot of comment above about NZ being made up of many different cultures - correct it is! Go away and do some research about the current make up of NZ society and the forces of immigration at play in that part of the world, then write your comments on here. Ignorance - and a large chip on most of your shoulders. Do you here NZ complaining that 13 of the Samoan team were born in NZ but are now playing for Samoa?

  • 136.
  • At 11:22 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Shaun M wrote:

Dear Dale -Comment 89

I have to argue with your claim that the All Blacks “systematically poaching of island talent for the All Blacks”.

You site
Rokocoko
Sivivatu
Collins
Masoe
Toeava
So’oialo
Lauaki

Sivivatu’s family moved to New Zealand in his teens, the rest all came when they were about 5 years old. I’ve stated this else where on this site but it is worth repeating because you must have missed it.

The New Zealand Rugby Union does not have the uncanny foresight to spot an All Black at the age of 5, which is about the age these players were moved to New Zealand by their families. Nobody has that level of foresight.

Please stop insulting these men by saying, in effect; that they are not “New Zealander” enough to play for the All Blacks. They are naturalised New Zealanders. Their families moved to New Zealand, they grew up in New Zealand, and these players have achieved the hard fought for position of being able to play for New Zealand, in the black jersey, through their dedication and talent.

Scotland has 12 foreign born players: Dan Parks (Australia), Nathan Hines (Australia), John Barclay (Hong Kong) and seven English: Craig Smith, Gavin Kerr, Andrew Henderson, Rob Dewey, Simon Webster, Hugo Southwell, and Jim Hamilton. Would you waste your time claiming Scotland poaches players, or these players aren’t Scottish enough? I didn’t think so.

And as for the Haka: there is a traditional response available to teams put out by the All Black performance of the Haka, out-play them! Of course this would involve the “home countries” being committed to out-playing a Southern Hemisphere team, which is something they seem utterly unwilling to do so far in this competition no matter what the cost.

  • 137.
  • At 11:22 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Han J wrote:

Oh come on - remember the semi final in `91 of Scotland vs the ABs? (Or maybe it was the 3rd place play-off - could someone enlighten me?) Anyway, John Jeffrey just grinned at them all the way through it as though he was enjoying a bit of pantomime, didn't look remotely intimidated.
Though I do think they should perform it before the anthems - a bit of "Gwlad gwlad..." would be a nice reply for example.

  • 138.
  • At 11:23 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Benjamin wrote:

The haka is part of the new zealand culture, much like the other island nations. Its not New Zealands fault that other countries do not take there heritage seriously, i'm sure that if someone like australia fully welcomed the aboriginal culture before all the convicts came that they too would have a version of a challenge, maybe more countries too.

  • 139.
  • At 11:28 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Benjamin wrote:

The haka is part of the new zealand culture, much like the other island nations. Its not New Zealands fault that other countries do not take there heritage seriously, i'm sure that if someone like australia fully welcomed the aboriginal culture before all the convicts came that they too would have a version of a challenge, maybe more countries too.

  • 140.
  • At 11:31 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Glasshouses and stones, Dale (89), Glasshouses and stones...

Where do H Paul, P Freshwater, M Stevens, S Abbot hail from? Somewhere in the Home Counties? I think not...

While Sivivatu is indeed a recent arrival to NZ, the others spent most of their childhoods in NZ and as immigrants and naturalised citizens have the right to play for NZ.

It's odd how this "poaching" debate only refers to players who're not Causcasian. I don't recall a fuss over Steve Devine playing for the All Blacks when, IMO, he had no right to, having represented an Australian side.

As for the Haka- it adds something to the atmosphere but I agree with the majority of posters: NZers have no right to be precious about it when other countries have no similar tradition.

  • 141.
  • At 11:32 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Maybe it should just be assumed that the Sipi Tau, Siva Tau and Cibi all fall under what he's complaining about instead of failing to address the basic premise of his argument by introducing strawmen about how the blog is motivated by jealousy.

Any claims of "culture" are quite frankly ludicrous, yes it's a cultural icon, but it is not one that belongs to white European descendants who worked so hard to marginalize the Maori in modern New Zealand society.

  • 142.
  • At 11:32 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • joey wrote:

I have no issues with the Haka as a spectacle I just wish the All Blacks would stop being so damn precious about it. Press reports about teams ‘disrespecting’it quite frankly bore me. The Haka suffered near fatal injuries for me last autumn when the AB’s sold their ‘challenge’ to sky before the Welsh game cos boo hoo the Welsh wanted them to do it before the anthems. And died a death, when they ‘sold’ it to addidas for commercial gain.

  • 143.
  • At 11:37 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • nadine wrote:

The Kiwis are all direct Maori descendents? What a load of bollocks, much like a lot of the other comments on this blog. I'm Scottish and I absolutely loved seeing the Haka at Murrayfield. This point has been made repeatedly but nobody whines about the Pacific nations' hakas nor do you hear the opposition league teams complain about the Kiwis haka. When the ABs or the Pacific teams play each other the hakas are performed simultaneously and the spectacle is twice as impressive. Most of the fuss about the haka is created by media that have nothing better to write about or are trying to avoid discussing the dismal state of 6 nations rugby at present (barring France every few games). And besides, noone has ever tried to stop other teams responding to the Haka (ie the Aussies singing Waltzing Matilda which is just ridiculous but their choice) apart from in Wales, which stemmed from the belief that the anthems and the haka are two different rituals...agree or disagree with that but the whole thing is blown up by irresponsible and poorly informed journos.

  • 144.
  • At 11:37 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Grainy wrote:

What I don't understand is, why is NZ's culture more important than any other? Let them keep their Haka if they will, but let other teams decide what they want to do, without interference from NZ' whiners.

  • 145.
  • At 11:39 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Ieuan wrote:

I love the Haka. But I honestly believe it should be that OR the anthem and they should perform it in place of the anthem, whether that is first or second.

  • 146.
  • At 11:40 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • StevieD wrote:

Have been surprised how few AB comments there have been to this. For me there are 2 very clear points:

- the haka should stay and be challenged

- I would consider the loss of any body part to be a small price to pay to see another great RWC tradition continue - that of the AB's choking and watching another nation lift the world cup.

  • 147.
  • At 11:40 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Peter D wrote:

Ban the Haka totally, whether the odious All Blacks or any other South Sea nation - it is an inappropriate, offensive piece of gamesmanship, and a war cry has no place on a field of sporting endeavour. Let the New Zealanders play the game without cheating too.

  • 148.
  • At 11:53 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mag wrote:

I'm thoroughly sick of the Haka and all the preciousness (is that a word) around it, get rid of it. Sing the national anthems and then straight into the game.

And before anyone gets on my case, I'm a kiwi & part maori.

  • 149.
  • At 11:54 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Dolly wrote:

What a lot of whingeing uninformed posters you have here! There are far too many points to correct, but a few easy ones:
1. The haka (the generic term for a Maori challenge) is the tradition being spoken of, not the particular haka of Te Rauparaha which is performed much more frequently than the recent Kapa O Pango haka written specifically for the All Blacks.
2. The NZ league team (The Kiwis) comprises New Zealanders of many ethnic backgrounds, not all "direct Maori descendants" as stated by "darran mather".
3. If an opposing team wants to disregard the haka then they are perfectly entitled to do so, it is the media that beats up the "disrespect the haka" story afterwards. SA and Australian teams regularly keep their tracksuits on while observing the haka, personally I think they are disrespecting their own Jersey in that case.

  • 150.
  • At 11:56 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

As a Rugby fan I love the NZ Haka and believe it should continue, however I believe this 'Traditional Challange' gives the AB an edge.
I would like to see the teams be able to cross over the half way line and stare down there respective AB opposite number as once England did.
This would lead to a much more intense game!

  • 151.
  • At 11:56 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Ollie wrote:

does anyone seriously believe that the haka gives the all blacks an advantage? i mean surely a team of professional rugby players, who know all about the haka and have mostly faced it before are going to be completely unfazed by it, perhaps even fired up by it themselves. the all blacks always beat everyone because their style of play (offloads, support play and sheer strength) is streets ahead of anyone else, its not to do with the haka. its almost like saying teams get scared by the opposition anthems! its a bit of entertainment to introduce the game, dont take it so seriously!

  • 152.
  • At 12:04 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • liam meighan wrote:

People are going on about the Haka being traditional. Well rugby was traditionally an amateur sport, but is now professional. Times change, and I have seen the future!! CHEERLEADERS!! They could do the Haka with their pom poms, Riverdance for Ireland and the can can for France, that way nobody is frightened by 15 men sticking their tongues out, and the players get to see pretty girls prancing in front of them, maybe it would get the blood flowing. God knows Ireland needs something different to the dirge that is Ireland's Call

  • 153.
  • At 12:10 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Aled wrote:

I like the Haka (as indeed I enjoy the "War dances" of the Pacific island nations) and think it should be kept as a tradition of the pre-match ceremonies. But how to respond? Wales a few years back decided to meet the challenge by having an opera singer belt out a hymn (a very Welsh solution). I have no problem with this myself, but we missed an opportunity. Lets meet it next time with the Welsh team belting out "Bread of Heaven" dressed in full national cotume - stove hat and all!!

  • 154.
  • At 12:12 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Bobby H wrote:

Good blog is one that generates so much response - This is a genuine question - so the many Kiwis who have responded in this thread with such aggressive words, please dont get upset - Do NZ league teams both do a Haka before league and cup games? - Just interested - if it is a warrior tradition before a battle, it would seem logical to conclude that each team would have their own version. My opinion is it is fine to keep it - any opposition professional rugby player worth his salt would take inspiration from it.

  • 155.
  • At 12:22 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Al wrote:

Forget the Haka why do New Zealand have a team made up of players from around the southern seas?

Shouldn't they be forced to change from being New Zealand to a South Seas island team?

  • 156.
  • At 12:23 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Nick Lay wrote:

NZ might not always rule world rugby but it seems they always want to run world rugby. Even the RWC logo with the stripey rugby ball bears quite some resemblance to the silver fern.

I have no beef with NZ as a nation or its people. However I do have a problem with the haka - and no it's nothing to do with the NZ-argument that other countries might use it as an 'excuse' for getting resoundingly beaten. The fact that the original haka is no longer performed and it has become far more aggressive in the pro-era, plus the fact it is no longer a novelty, probably weakens the case for keeping it.

Congratulations to Mr Cotter for putting over his opinion which many of us have agreed with. I too dislike the haka (and indeed any of the other pre-match routines from FIJ, TGA and SAM). Why should some countries always get indulged whilst others are expected to just keep quiet and reluctantly smile and politely clap these rituals?

Why do they still get indulged in this day and age? Because NZ always want to run rugby and the petty jealousies of the old five nations towards one another means that we are never able to stand in unison and challenge them at IRB level.

  • 157.
  • At 12:26 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Shaun M wrote:

Mark Nordhoff Comment 134.

It is good that you question how the All Blacks have the right to perform the Haka. It is not a matter of what families the players spring from, but rather how the performers respect the Haka.

All members of the All Blacks can publicly perform the Haka, as the traditional performance of either Haka before a match is considered a worthy use of the dance. The All Blacks for their part, are simply custodians of the Haka, and must in their performance not disrespect the Haka. This obligation not to disrespect the Haka is the reason it is performed just prior to the beginning of the game, as that is the traditionally appropriate time for its performance.

  • 158.
  • At 12:34 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Chris Bartram wrote:

Speaking,as an ex pat Englishman
who has lived in NZ for about 25 years,i'm sick of the sight of the bloody thing, as one man famously said you get a Haka at the opening of a public convienience over here.
Chris

  • 159.
  • At 12:36 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Hayden wrote:

The same old chestnut aye?!?! Every year you poms have a whinge about the haka. Despite the cultural considerations which I will not get into here the haka is great for rugby. It is unique and would diminish the sport in theyes of many neutrals/non-rugby people. Just get over it and do your talking on the field. Extra advantage etc etc, what a load of rubbish!

  • 160.
  • At 12:38 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Bravotwodingo wrote:

It makes me laugh to see non Maori or Islander males with their pale skin, small tongues and squinty eyes trying to fit in with their Indigenous mates in chanting a war taunt that was originally aimed at them. Leave it in I say, it's fun but please zoom in on the 'all whites' when they pull faces.

  • 161.
  • At 12:39 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • South London Sarrie! wrote:

Sorry but I disagree!

It isn't political correctness talking here, just good manners. The Haka is a tradition of New Zealand. If the South Africans wanted to Zulu dance before their games, people, particularly the BBC, would be falling overthemselves to accomadate them.

The haka is awesome sight, and as for the AB's having the upper hand after performing it. I also dont agree. After watching the Haka, I am so pumped I would like nothing more than to smash Jerry Collins, or Chris Jack or whatever All Black that got in the way (I played scrum half by the way). The Haka, for me, is just as useful as it is for the AB's.


  • 162.
  • At 12:42 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • AK wrote:

Alot of the people complaining about the haka come across as very bitter. Your team (whichever that is)probably isn't performing well and you want to express anger at this fact. You should concentrate on the things that would improve your teams performance. Getting rid of the haka, or making the All Blacks perform it before the home sides anthem, will not make your team any better.

And to the writer of the blog. If you're going to write something like this, I would suggest you not do so just after your team has been on the receiving end of a humiliating 40-0 drubbing by a lack-lustre All Black team. It would look less like sour grapes.

  • 163.
  • At 12:46 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • nativeman wrote:

if my research is correct ..it was your grandparents or great grandparents who made the HAKA part of NZ rugby culture. When the first lot of NZ rugby teams toured the UK in the early part of the 20th century..your grandparents loved and demanded to see the NATIVES peform the cultural dance called the haka...whats wrong with your generation? You seem to like NZ as a mini idealistic engaland, not over populated and rich in scenic beauty? However your willing to bring your racist views and nazi mindsets to something that is 'native' and accept that the haka is a cultural symbol for NZ? That NZ is a biligual country?

It's because up until the 1980's the NZ All blacks were dominated by white players who did the 'haka' like a bunch of girls..thus the introduction of wayne 'buck' shelford. His influence and determination to do the haka with real passion,vigour and MANA..evolves to what you see today. The Haka striking fear into opposition and used correctly to issue the challenge.

In true English fashion you have decided to again ( every year and every time the home country rugby teams are performing on par to the national football team..complete crap) some bright spark decides to target the 'haka' as the reason why a winning team like the All blacks must not get away with performing a triditional native dance before a match..maybe its the jealously factor along with 'england is the centre of the universe' mentality?

If you take time to research the haka and its importance to NZ as a biligual country and how it evolved as a cultural symbol for NZ this debate wouldn't of even started. Ask your grandparents why they wanted to see the haka performed? Why did 'native dance' tickle their fancy? ohh our generation doesn't want to see native dance or haka because we are far to advanced up our backsides to let other countries maintain a proud tridition.

this bloggs topic regarding the HAKA is and was always intending to spark the racism debate.

  • 164.
  • At 12:55 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • chopsnzl wrote:

Get over it. Anything to whinge about.

  • 165.
  • At 12:57 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Conor wrote:

I have long thought that teams should respond in kind.
Personnally I'd love to see someone sing 'I'm a little Tea-pot' complete with actions as NZ do the Hakka.
I reckon that would really annoy them.

My main issue though is with the seriousness NZ take it.
Why can a home team respond with their song? At the Bledsloe cup game in Melbourne this year Australia went with 'Walting Matilda' after. Also, all connection to Maori tradition was exposed as a sham after the Lions tour when the NZ rugby team cried blue murder over the disrespect of the Lions original approach - captain and youngest player to face it alone despite Maori tribal elders describing this as the proper way to face the Hakka.

  • 166.
  • At 12:57 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Will wrote:

I don't care very much when the Haka is performed, nor do I think that it influences the outcome of any match. Furthermore I'd hate to see it go, as I think it's a great spectacle. However, there needs to be a directive from the IRB asserting that the Haka is to be performed before an international match whenever the host nation bloody well says it will be performed! Could you imagine any other team touring to a foreign country and insisting that their hosts must sing their anthem first!? I'm thinking of course of Cardiff, last October. Their arrogance and disrespect towards their hosts on that occasion was astounding.

  • 167.
  • At 12:59 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mac wrote:

Well I think that the above comments miss a key area. my 9 year old daughter would never have played rugby if it wasnt for the haka. Hs loves the idea that Rugby and Ballet dancing can be combined in the pre match entertainment... and that is how she sees the throat slitting traditional challenge that the Haka is.

Mind you she is disappointed to have to learn a different variant this year... as she can't quite understand how that is a traditional challenge .... mind you neither can I....

  • 168.
  • At 01:00 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Timalbi wrote:

Hear hear - I'm hacked off with the Haka too! I fully admit at this point that I'm no neutral - I'm a green-eyed Welshman, deeply envious of the ABs ability to smash us (and most if not all others) off the park (or should that be paddock?).

However, the way the Haka (and its variants) are now preformed is as much about "growing the ABs brand" as it is about tradition - encouraging shirt sales as much as sh*t stains, if you get my meaning. The Haka has sadly become a 'made-for-TV' charicature of its original cultural intention and shouldn't be tolerated anymore.

(For example, just watch the way someone like Byron Kelleher theatrically twists and screws up his face - as if he's some demented member of the cast of Cats. Tosser.)

Personally, I'd recommend doing a "Campese" and totally ignoring the whole tostesterone-injected charade, but one thing is for sure - the ABs shouldn't expect the opposition to just stand there like lambs to the slaughter, lapping up their war dance so as not to cause offence (if ever there was a contradiction in terms that must be it). I thought it was great when they weaseled out of doing the Haka in Cardiff last year just because the Welsh insisted on them doing it before Land of My Fathers. Diddums! (OK, they then stuffed us by 40 pts but to me this actually reinforces the point that they don't really need the pre-match oneupmanship!)

At most allow the ABs to perform their fairy dance BEFORE the anthems; prefereably though, let them keep their choreography for the NZ equivalent of the Eisteddfod.

  • 169.
  • At 01:02 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Martin B wrote:

I remember watching a few years ago when the All Blacks performed the Haka and the England(?) team went up to them to stand inches away. That certainly shocked the All Blacks, but I read comments afterwards that they didn't think the Haka had been 'disresepcted', rather that it had been challenged, which was fine by them. Why don't more teams do this?

  • 170.
  • At 01:07 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • mkh wrote:

My historical knowledge of the Haka is limited, but i believe that it is synonymous with war (i am happily corrected if wrong)? However seriously one takes rugby, it is not war. It is a meeting of nations in a sporting capacity. Regardless of the passion and patriotism amongst the teams why should one team be allowed to prepare for war when its oposition is simply preparing for a game of rugby??!!

  • 171.
  • At 01:12 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • masterdeluxe wrote:

In reply to thread #89 Dale: Now you & many others complaining about NZ poaching pacific islanders are the ignorant ones. Do you not realise that even though these players were born in the islands, they actually came to NZ at a very young age. These players have been taught how to play rugby in NZ & not in their birth countries so I don't think that Samoa, Tonga or Fiji should take credit for any of them. Have you even bothered to listen to any of them talk??? They all have kiwi accents you idiot. I too am a Samoan who was born in NZ but have many cousins/friends who were born in the islands. They also came to NZ at a young age for a better life & we all play club rugby. I also know Jerry Collins personally & know that he is a very passionate kiwi who represented NZ from schoolboys to U21 all the way to the AB's. NZ also have a very large population of Pacific Islanders & it just frustrates me to read ignorant comments like yours. I have watched many games in Samoa & believe me, they don't have the talent to want to poach. I'm guessing it all comes down to jealousy because we are such a strong rugby nation & always strive to play better & faster rugby. So please stop using this excuse of poaching & just concentrate on the pitiful state of rugby in your own backyard. I wonder how long it will take for England to win another world cup??

As for the haka?? I really don't think the AB's care if the opposition don't face it or not. Again it is the NH press making such a big deal about it & all this crap about kiwis taking it to heart & that we should lighten up. What a load of rubbish!!! At the end of the day, the AB's will still play well even if the haka was not performed. Why are there no threads about banning the PI hakas?? Because they are not the No.1 team, end of story.

  • 172.
  • At 01:19 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Wooftaville wrote:

Haka schmaka. Watch out you ABs as (top secretly) Eng coach Ashton hired top aggro-ballerinic Wayne Sleep to formulate UK vers of haka which will debut in Paris v Tonga on Fri. Dubbed the Asboka - the UK haka 'contains an elemental beauty and violence representitive of Britain in the 1960s.' You heard it here first.

  • 173.
  • At 01:25 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Don James wrote:

As a child of Maori decent, the Haka was taught to us young in our Maori Culture classes...anyone remember those? but we didn't perform it prior to our rugby games. Now living in the US, watching the Haka gives me goose bumps, as it should when done properly. The Haka was originally intended to psych out the opponent prior to battle in a culture burdened with animism. If there was ever an appropriate time to perform it..it's definitely AFTER the anthems. Isn't rugby a war game anyhow? NZ is unique in many ways and the Haka is an appropriate tribute to the Maoris present and past and a good little dig at the rest of the world. Clearly it's not a pretty site, but sets the tone for how the ABs will play the game. For a such a small gene pool it's interesting how so few can dominate so many....is it the Haka?!
Kia Kaha

  • 174.
  • At 01:41 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • David wrote:

Agree with you over the haka. As a Kiwi we make too much of it, giving it status that it doesn't deserve. Over here, many Kiwis are tired of making the Haka bigger than it is and after the Italy incident there wa a lot of comment saying good on the Italians.

  • 175.
  • At 01:45 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Vlad wrote:

Re 164, masterdeluxe

Don't bother explaining the "poaching" business to these people. They know very well about the young age, and about the fact that more NZ-born players play for PIs, than PIs-born players play for NZ. But listening to facts would take away one of the two complaints that they have about NZ rugby (the other one is haka), and would require them to search for problems in their respective countries. And they are not ready to do that yet...

  • 176.
  • At 01:56 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Shaun M wrote:

Bobby H - comment 160

Another good question, yes the New Zealand National Rugby League team (the "Kiwis")does perform a pre-match Haka, as do some other New Zealand teams, such as the New Zealand Basketball team (the "Tall Blacks", honestly).

The nature of the Haka is probably best shown by the fact that the New Zealand Cricket team doesn't perform a Haka before a match. A Haka is to ready a group for emininent battle, it is not really appropriate as a warm up to a five-day long event.

  • 177.
  • At 01:59 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Rusty wrote:

The problem isn't the Haka but the NZ demand that it be respected.

Firstly, European-NZers, by and large, bear a huge amount of resentment towards maoridom in other aspects of kiwi life. Many refuse to sing the maori verse of the anthem but give the "God of nations" part their full attention.

Secondly, many of the team have said that they don't care about the haka as a tradition in the national sense and that they perform it for their own benefit and preparation. This admission alone should render all argument for the haka void. No other team in the world gets extra time to prepare before the game except the NZ boys.

I have lived in NZ for a good many years now and I can truly say that I have never seen anything like blustering hubris and petulance of the NZ rugby fans when it comes to the haka. Any perceived slight is met by a raft of precious nonsense in the papers. There is usually a maori cultural professor somewhere willing to pour forth vitriol about "lack ofcultural sensitivity".

Well, let me put it like this. I'm irish. It's in my culture to show disdain for someone challenging me. In maoridom it is unacceptable to do this. I wonder if any NZ fan is even the slightest bit embarrassed that your rugby team comes as guests to our countries and then attempts to foist their "traditions" (see posts above for the debunking of this myth) onto their hosts? Perhaps they'd be better off grabbing a dictionary and learning the meaning of "gracious" and "humble".

Bunch of show-boating narcissists, the lot of em.

  • 178.
  • At 02:04 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Buckley wrote:

Just do what I always do when I see them perform it....hummm and sing to yourself "You put your right leg in, your right leg out, in out in out shake it all about". Never seems as ferocious then I can tell you.

  • 179.
  • At 02:05 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • andy wrote:

Haka after anthems, thats ok. As long as its not changed to destroy its purpose for "lets not upset people" reasons .... then again, lets allow a level playing field: the throat-slitting gesture is fine, given its historical / cultural reference, as long as a .303, a Maxim etc would be deemed equally acceptable ;-)

  • 180.
  • At 02:08 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Hamish Bills wrote:

When it is performed(the haka)why do you see every major rugby venue around the world light up like giant glow worm caves as cameras flash from all corners if it is so reviled by opposition fans?Perhaps thats why at dear old Twickers they prefer to have afternoon games so you can't see the flashes!

What about Tonga,Fiji and Manu Samoa?Or do you conveniently choose to forget about their pre game challenges?And thats what they are....challenges.The dual face off between the AB's and Tonga/Samoa or Fiji is an amazing spectacle. The Aussie fans now retort after the haka and before kickoff with Waltzing Matilda....and good on them.The English have their negro spiritual,the Welsh have Bread of Heaven and the Scots have the pipes.The problem is most rugby players are crap singers and you might get the odd Scottish player who can belt out a ditty on the pipes but in reality it would look/sound a little strange on the field of play in rugby kit.

During last years Home Unions tour the ABs had a completely different response at Murrayfield from that they received at Twickers.The English crowd booed their lungs out whilst the Scots were silent.Interesting eh.....

  • 181.
  • At 02:22 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Stuart Keith wrote:

Get over it! Ask the IRB whether or not they'd like the Haka removed from the flavour and heritage of this sport. Right! The All Blacks can always perform the Haka in their changing-room...and watch out. (A/B's v Wales - 2006). No problem.
Interesting to read these comments, and from-where the negatives are coming. The way this RWC is going, the finalists will be OZ, NZ, SA and Argentina. Ho-hum.
Pull your pants-down England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and France. You're not even in the game. Slow,boring, fat, underdone and without the skill and speed to beat a provincial team in my country.

  • 182.
  • At 02:25 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Sorry, I appear to have wandered into the soccer, oh sorry football, forum by mistake; a sport where the major skill is to fall down convincingly without being touched. The haka is a challenge; if you can't meet the challenge then yes, the ABs have an advantage (but then you should probably be playing football with the 'girly boys' to quote my gubernator, not rugby, the world's toughest sport).

I am a Canadian, living in the US (and Southern California at that), married to a Kiwi (for 30 years), working for an Aussie boss in an Aussie company. So I am either more culturally sensitive than many of you, or just confused. I have loved the ABs (and the Haka) since I lived in NZ in the late '70s (and Graham Mourie's undefeated tour of the UK).
Keep the haka, it is great spectacle and totally appropriate to playing rugby; learn to handle the challenge and you might start along the road to being truely, consistently competitive again. Well that, a few basic skills and learning not to fall down before being hit.

  • 183.
  • At 02:33 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Giulio in Canada wrote:

Well, my friend:
no more Flower of Scotland then.. You may sing along God save the Queen..
And, you may also field one team and one team only - Great Britain, well United Kingdom..your pick...

  • 184.
  • At 02:33 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • peter makin wrote:

Of course performing a haka is traditional and it adds spice and culture to the event. It smacks of sour grapes to say it gives the All Blacks a psychological edge. As a traditional challenge issued to the other side, it's fine if the opposition want to respond with their own reply - the Welsh singing thier traditional song is a fine example, to be welcomed. A friend of mine maintains that England should send out the Morris Dancers and I think that would be great.

And let's get over the "throat slitting" gesture. It's not about cutting the throat at all. It is about accessing life force engergy and is symbolic of doing that - different cultures express meaning with different symbols, so it's important to check out what's being meant by any symbolic gesture. I repeat the gesture in the newer haka is nothing to do with slitting anyone's throat. Finally, the haka is still a traditional way of offering a challenge, whether the latest haka is adopted or another one. Most cultures continually evolve, and just because the All Blacks have thought to bring out a new version of the haka, doesn't undermine it's place in our cultural heritage.

  • 185.
  • At 02:35 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

As an Englishman in New Zealand i can tell you that the kiwis are really precious about their Haka. It seems its the only thing the pakeha (people of euro descent) want to embrace about maoridom.
At the moment there are no maori players in the AB's, it seems to me a little silly having someone called Mcaw, Carter and Mauger performing this Haka.
In my eyes it actually demeans the origins of the challenge. When I have seen my Maori freiends perform haka's it is a thing of wonder. The hairs stand up on the back of your neck and you see the intensity and belief and sense of purpose in what it means to be Maori.
I just feel its done by NZ's beacaue it looks good.

Finally please no more jokes about morris dancers its been done to death and is really not funny.

  • 186.
  • At 02:41 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Giulio in Canada wrote:

I also object to #89... Haka was danced in the dressing room, too... Just to prove the point it's an issue with TV ratings... ABs can't care less... By the same token, no more tartan army then, no more pipes... no more Flowers of Scotland -- You all under the UJ - what about that??
It's unbelievable #89 sticks together female mutilation and Haka... Let's call your bluff... ABs are always the top favourite team...you can'ts tomach it... your poor performances are because the Haka.... What about this ??

  • 187.
  • At 02:42 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Maori Boy wrote:

The Haka as already stated is a significant part of New Zealand's heritage as a relatively young and multi-cultural country.

Truly it is a challenge which everyone should have the right to respond to and according to Maori tradition this was always the case. It is supposed to be intimadating as it is a sign of intent, hence why we prefer to perform right before the game as it wouldn't carry the same meaning otherwise.

Most of the top High School teams in New Zealand perform their own 'Haka' simultaneously or in succession which adds to the occassion and at times galvanises the supporters of the opposing teams.

Perhaps we can seem a bit precious about it but quite possibly this is also blown out of proportion by speculative media reports that at times have little in the way of substance.

What is a tradition? Is it not something that is started and continued for a succession of time? Looking at it in this respect you could easily say that the 'new' haka which was created for 'this' team is their tradition which they use for special occassions as it is meaningful to them and a sign of their upmost respect to use it as a challenge when they expect a hard fought encounter (not always necessarily the case...).

The supposedly more traditional 'Ka Mate' is almost if not more iconic than our All Black apparel with the Silver Fern emblazoned on the chest. Are you going to suggest next that the mystique and prestige with which the jersey also comes with gives us an advantage and should be changed for a fluorescent pink shirt? I doubt it but surely our enlightened bretren of the North can come up with something better than suggesting because we are 'precious' about something a lot of Kiwi's can easily identify with (not just those of Maori descent) and feel patriotic about should be scrapped is folly.

If it should come to pass it would be the sad result of over professionalism, redundant political correctness and the ridiculous. Bring on the challenges! I would love to see the NH teams play real warrior rugby instead of being a collective group of over-paid wusses, harden up and find a challenge you can be proud of instead of rubbishing ours!

  • 188.
  • At 02:44 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Joop wrote:

After reading the blogs posted here, I came to realise that perhaps the true meaning of the haka has been lost. A haka is not solely a war dance. The haka can be performed for a number of reasons, and not all related to war. The Ka Mate haka itself is a ceremonial haka, not a war dance. Ka Mate is a dance to celebrate life over death.

And perhaps the haka in international rugby has been misconstrued too. The haka is also performed to recognise the significance of an occasion. Most people may think that the All Blacks perform the haka to psyche themselves up. Few realise that it is a sign of respect they give to their opponents and the gravity of that occasion.

As to why the ABs changed to Kapa o Pango from the Ka Mate haka for Scotland, I can only speculate that perhaps they saw Scotland as their first real "threat" and treated it as such. With more caution and respect.

By the way, I'm neither a kiwi by birth nor a maori. I'm a Malaysian living in New Zealand, who has had the opportunity to enjoy and respect the haka for what it really is. Keep it in rugby. Respect it for what it really is. Teams of yesteryears did.

  • 189.
  • At 02:46 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Buckley wrote:

Okay joking aside....I've just two things to say here. Yes...I agree the haka (whatever version and by whatever nation) should only be performed before the anthems. As wonderful as a spectacle as it is, any way you look at it IS a psychological advantage to the team who perform it just before the off. I don't see why the South Pacific nations should have a problem with this. If it is a war challenge then why can't the opposition say "right, now our turn...'god save the Queen' or 'Flower of Scotland' etc". I think the argument for who sings first goes to the home/away team would be a fair and correct one. Secondly to the one or two above who've mentioned "Ireland's Call" in the same argument...this is a completely different issue and evidence of the posters ignorance of the game. Ireland's Call was written and introduced in the mid 90's as an inclusive island-of-Ireland anthem for the whole team, some of which are proud Ulstermen who are technically British subjects. When international games are played in Dublin the Irish national anthem "Amhrain na Bhiann" is played first as the event is being played in the Republic of Ireland and then "Ireland's Call" is played to represent the 15 players "from the 4 proud provinces of Ireland". When we play away from home only Ireland's Call is played. And just to take my point further when Ireland played a WC warm-up game at Ravenhill in Belfast in August God Save the Queen was played first and then Ireland's Call. Irish rugby's unique tying together of an otherwise divided island into one sporting team is the reason for this unique anthem scenario. Unlike the haka it is a song of unity and brotherhood and not war declaration.

  • 190.
  • At 02:47 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Booth wrote:

"The Haka was originally intended to psych out the opponent prior to battle in a culture burdened with animism. If there was ever an appropriate time to perform it..it's definitely AFTER the anthems" I think that is the point people are trying to make; its an appropriate time for the kiwis.. not the opposing team! Either way, I doubt that it has much impact on the outcome of the game. The issue for me is whilst there are plenty of kiwis stressing how important this cultural demonstration is for them, they don't seem to realise a lot of people are complaining that other nations ,such as the english, scottish, etc don't have an oppertunity to do this too... Either culture is important or not right?

  • 191.
  • At 02:49 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Spaceman! wrote:

If NZ are allowed the Haka, then England should be allowed to Morris dance in front of opponents; now that really would be scary.

  • 192.
  • At 02:55 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Sydney Beige wrote:

Whilst I can appreciate the reluctance of teams facing the AB's to give away the tangible advantage that the haka allegedly provides I think it pertinent to consider the following;

1) It is part of the heritage and fabric of the code that is being consistently denuded by the commercialism of professional rugby. Must we suffer further erosion of traditions? Perhaps these people who whinge about the haka could spend their time queuing for overpriced hot dogs and flat beer from the sponsors while the true rugby fans watch proceedings?

2) I have listened to and read many comments from ex-players who have faced the haka and claim that it has little or no effect on them. Tim Horan was famously quoted as saying it was a joke and if Frank Bunce was going to perform it, he should at least learn the words. 1-0 Mr Horan

3) The haka is a challenge to an opposition prior to battle. Not prior to singing some maudlin tune about why your country is better than the next. I can not believe the knockers do not appreciate watching the AB's and say Samoa face up and present their challenges to each other simultaneoulsy? Surely there are few sights as stirring as this in international sport

4) For all of the Home Unions puffery about rich cultural heritatage, it seems contradictory to complain about another nation sharing theirs prior to smashing the opposition to pieces. Surely it is this kind of attitude that has lead to the French and Scots coming up with identical jerseys to the AB's or doing deals for home games (suck France: that one has backfired hasn't it?). One would have thought these actions do less for the game than the haka?

Long Live The Haka and while I'm at it, Bring Back Buck

  • 193.
  • At 03:30 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Azza wrote:

I enjoy seeing it done with a bit of feeling, but it is nothing but gamesmanship. It's a bit hard for any side to respond to the Haka, given the tv cameras and shaggy-dog microphones in the way - it keeps the sides well apart and dilutes the effect. I'd love to see the Samoans "hakaing" back at NZ at the same time and see the two teams so close you couldn't get a teamsheet between them.

They certainly shouldn't be a standard response - it should be upto the individual oponents to respond as they see fit, without the All Blacks getting upset about it (O'Driscoll, Lions tour etc etc). NZ shouldn't have the right to perform it at away games - when in Rome.....

And while we are at it, since the Haka changed recently I think that showed it's becoming a gimick.

  • 194.
  • At 03:37 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Justice wrote:

Let the buggers continue to do it...it just makes their inevitable choking more enjoyable. I reckon they'll lose in the Q finals this year.

England should do the chicken dance.... da, da,da , da , da, da, da dah, da, da, da da, dada dah.. complete with annoying actions.

  • 195.
  • At 03:46 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

"What happens when the ABs play Samoa?"

They both perform at the same time.... and its great!

Who cares about the Haka anyway? When will someone do a post on the dilution of Northern Hemisphere competition with players from the South. Half of the Wallabies, Springboks and All Blacks will be playing in Europe after the world cup - how does that help European player development? Hence the shocking world cup results!

  • 196.
  • At 03:52 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Paul Stacey wrote:

I'm utterly bored by the Haka. I've seen it a hundred times.

I'll admit it can be impressive; and it helps wind their players up. But it's boring - and it HAS lost any historical relevance by being revamped

Now here's something that will really get the AB supporters going.

That the all-blacks are permitted to prance around before each game is a symptom of a serious problem in world rugby. The All Blacks get special treatment.
Evidence:
1) They are refereed differently. If they weren't then McCaw would hold a world record for yellow cards (persistent offside, handling in the ruck, not staying on feet...). I have only once seen the all blacks refereed fairly. (they lost)
Moreover - the referring in the France / AB tests was a disgrace

2) They are effectively permitted 2 anthems, where others are permitted 1. Ok - the south pacific islanders can do there's. But if other nations wanted to sing twice or dance the lambarda (as suggested above)it simply wouldn't be allowed

3) They are punished differently by citing officials. It happens ALL the time. The most obvious example is the O'driscol incident. But Nonu's tackle on D'arcy in '05 should have resulted in a ban.

Am I a whinging pom. Well yes, a bit. (though I'd rather england lost to Tonga and we get the painful exit over with.)But i can't stand everyone swooning over the all blacks when they get keep getting special treatment. Of course they're good - but there just aren't any other decent teams around apart from maybe SA.
If they get refereed and play a good team - they'll lose.


  • 197.
  • At 04:03 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Kevin wrote:

What interests me is that nobody bitches about the Fijians, Samoans, and Tongans performing their traditional challenges before their games. Is it because the 6 Nations sides can actually beat these teams?

Rusty - the whole haka before a game started because NZ were invited to show a little native culture to the Brits and Irish early last century.

However, I agree that the team and country have become somewhat precious over the haka. It is a privilege, not a right, and if requested, should be performed between anthems. They've already shown that they lose nothing by performing it as early as pre-match (Wales 2005). I also agree that they've forfeited the tradition argument with the new haka.

Get rid of it, keep the old one, and when away,do it at the time you're requested to.

  • 198.
  • At 04:04 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Span wrote:

I personally don't understand why it is only the northern hemisphere teams (& some fans it seems) that have a problem with the haka. The only time this debate ever happens is when the All Blacks play the six nations teams. What's the big deal? If you're scared of it you probably shouldn't be on the field, because you're scared of facing the All Blacks, not a haka. When the All Blacks play any of the South Pacific nations, they face their respective challenges with respect. The home team start the challenge and the visiting team responds during it, it is incredibly stirring to watch - have a look on YouTube. Plus the All Blacks love it and get more fired up when they are challenged during it, that's kind of the point. It's a great tradition, relax people!

  • 199.
  • At 04:07 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • michael brimacombe wrote:

I dont mind the Haka but the New Zealanders are hypocrites. When they last played Wales in Cardiff they were banned from doing it on the pitch and so they did it in the tunnel.
History shows that the war dance was done to throw down the gauntlet to their enemies and they would wait for a response.So what are NZ afraid of? Why do they not want us to respond?
Let them do the Haka and as a Welsh supporter let us rspond with our own war anthem - MEN OF HARLECH. If you are not sure of the song just take a look at the great movie - Zulu.I reckon this song would make our players feel like giants. The same impact that the Haka gives NZ.

  • 200.
  • At 04:26 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Macca wrote:

What a bunch of whiner's you lot from the north hemisphere are!

There is a right of reply and the NZ gets one when they play Samoa, Tonga or Fiji, so if you want to riverdance, sing danny boy, play the bag pipes or if english bore us to tears with that old classic 'Swing Low' then go right ahead

As for an unfair advantage, if your an international rugby player and you get worried about the haka then you shouldn't be playing international rugby let alone rugby.

I can remember playing Rugby League in the north of england for an ANZAC team and all the english people wanted to see was the haka performed.

I think too much is made of the haka, it's there as a reminder to our indigeous history.

  • 201.
  • At 04:45 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Will Vittery wrote:

the haka doesn't necessarily give the new zealanders a pyschological advance. it pumps up the oppsition team as well, and seeing as most of the nz team aren't maori, it actually means nothing to the majority of them anyway

  • 202.
  • At 04:52 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Kelly wrote:

I'm a Scot living in NZ, so a foot in each camp here. I'd like to make 2 points.

First, there are many Hakas. The tradition is when and where it is done; the actions are different for each Haka. So having a new one is OK, and doesn't change the tradition. It is suggested here that the new Haka "Kapa O Pango" (Team in Black) has much more traditional significance anyway, btw. The "Ka Mate" was the Haka of one particular chief from one particular tribe (Te Rauparaha of Ngati Toa).

Second, I have been told that during the first NZ vs Wales test (first ever) in Wales the All Blacks performed a Haka to which the Welsh team responded with their anthem - an occassion which of itself led to the adoption of national anthems before tests. I'm unsure of the validity of this, but the person telling me was very convincing (and a bit of a pub quizzer).
Comments?

  • 203.
  • At 04:53 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • jimjam wrote:

If anyone has degraded or cheapened the haka it is the kiwis themselves who spontaneously slap thigh at the very hint of anything NZ-related. I remember the NZ swimming team at the Commonwealth games performing a haka for people coming second to last in their heats. That even raised the issue here in NZ.

It was special when you only saw it once a year, not every five minutes which is one of the reasons the other pacific islands challenges haven't been called into question. That and the fact they don't whine about it when the opposition fail to pee themselves with excitement.

Contrary to popular belief in NZ, Kiwis do not hold the exclusive rights to rugby, the way it should be played or whether or not their traditions are sacred to the rest of us.

And they call us 'whingers' or 'arrogant'.

  • 204.
  • At 04:55 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • BRYAN wrote:

Fron now on we should only have teams play in black or white that way no one will have a problem. No sing at all, the only words that you can cheer are "yes" & "no".
No one can have a problem with that and wouldn't it be so much fun.
I'm a kiwi and doing the Haka means that we respect you and will bring our best game and excpet you to do the same. If we don't do the haka your not worth it so we'll send the women out to run you off.

This doesn't really matter- the players are supposed to be preparing for a RUGBY MATCH, you know that thing they do as post-haka entertainment. If players/management are thinking about an appropriate response to it, well they are diverting their energies in the wrong direction. That said other teams should just ignore the Haka and get on with their preparation, because by factoring in the haka to their prep, they DO give the ABs a psychological edge, one they don't need. in other words CAMPESE GOT IT RIGHT.

  • 206.
  • At 05:11 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Kiwi Geordie wrote:

Who cares about rugby union anymore, never mind the Haka. The RWC has been a disgrace in terms of spectacle and value for money. At least the Haka has some form of spectacle.

Adding a pointless glorified morris dance to a pointless game in a pointless cup just creates pointless cubed.

The only highlight for this tournament has been Argentina and Tonga. Roll on the final and get this nonsence (Haka included) consigned to history.

  • 207.
  • At 05:13 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:


Stop whinging. The Haka is fun. It is even better TV. Which is why the ABs eyes pop out of their heads and spittle runs down their chins. It looks good. But it is a threat to no one. Daniel Carter is not going to roast your entrails. Not that guy. Coming back from his manicure?

As an aside, do you think Adidas minds every time the Haka is on TV?

But to be fair, the traditional AB Haka is THE Haka. It is part of rugby tradition. I am sure someone came up with this new one to show the new breed of ABs are 'relevent', 'involved'. In other words very PC. Therefore, its got to go.

And if someone wants to ignore it, ignore it. Who cares? It still makes good TV. And it's still fun.

And if someone wants a rejoinder, well, if it is reasonable, and someone has at least two brain cells and does not include any stupid throat cut gestures, go for it. This is all supposed to be fun. Right?

  • 208.
  • At 05:16 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Pablo D wrote:

Nothing wrong with the Haka being performed by "white" boys, PI's or Maori or combinations thereof. Nor for that matter is there anything wrong in how opposing teams choose to respond. I'm a football fan and it does bring something different to your game other than a load of dirge like national anthems.

Let the All Blacks carry on their tradition and let the oppositions choose to respect it or not in their own way. Lets not have any response defined by some PC directive from a bunch of Ruperts, Dai's, Jocks or Hone Heke's. Apologies to other nationalities for missing you out, in my shallowness i cannot think of other suitable stereotypical names.

Kia Kaha

  • 209.
  • At 05:19 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Jules Nicholas wrote:

I understand the comments many have made, but as an expat living in NZ I have to raise the fact that many of the comments are made in ignorance. I am not an expert, but the Haka is 'performed' on a day-to-day basis in NZ. As a congratulation, as a welcome, as a challenge, as a farewell. It is a living part of the culture of NZ. As are many 'dance routines' of many of the pacific islands - note Tonga and Samoa. As to the tradition, the words change as time moves on, the tradition comes from the actual Haka itself. If we are not big enough to face the challenge laid then are we big enough to play????

  • 210.
  • At 05:28 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • ric wrote:

As a NewZealander I can definitely see the reason why their is a lot of negative feedback about the haka. It should be treated on a game by game basis - Sure in NZ do it as much as you want, but where the All Blacks are the visitors overseas, should ask permission to perform the haka like guests. On the Marae (traditional Maori meeting house in NZ) There is a lot of protocol and tradition. Although the rules are not what I am stating, they are however rules of respect. And respect means asking permission not arrogantly assuming it is our right. Maybe at the world cup it's a good spectacle to warm up the crowd? But it looks daft when the white dudes do it, it only really suits a maori. it's like the maoris trying to riverdance...

  • 211.
  • At 05:29 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

This thread is getting a little bit petty, and doesn't do much to change the stereotype of "rugbyheads" being thick.

I think we are overplaying the importance of the haka. If you don't like it turn it off, if you don't want to face it, turn your back. Don't for a minute believe that the All Blacks being offended by Italy turning their backs is anything more than a journalist trying to put a controversial spin on a game which never reached great heights as a contest.

In the same breath, if you believe the nonsense about All Blacks targeting O'Driscoll on the Lions Tour for a perceived disrespect of the haka, then you would believe anything.

If the All Blacks have to perform the haka in their dressing room so be it, I doubt that it is gonna change the result of the game either way. They will still be pumped up as seen in Wales last year, if its that bigger deal, why don't other teams do something similar in the sheds beforehand themselves.

The over-riding feeling I get from reading the thread is that we are talking about peripheral things like the haka because the rugby to date has not been that spectacular.

I remember standing in the western terrace at twickers whilst the Haka was being performed by a side that had wrought devestation upon the British isles (it was around 92/93 I think). It was the final match of the tour and it looked likely the All Blacks would return undefeated. The English team stood facing them and took the challenge. The crowd sang the English response back - we sang loudly and with passion. You could see the impact on the All Blacks as they realised the challenge had been met and we were ready as a nation, not just a team. The game was a might disappointing in entertainment value to an impartial spectator, however England won.

The point is that the crowd gave the reply. That is what the northern hemisphere teams have that the southern hemisphere do not - crowds proud to sing in unity. Ever been to an international in Australia - they have to sing over the loudspeakers to prompt the supporters as to what to sing and when!

The answer is therefore to learn the words to Jerusalem, to Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (and not just the opening verse!), to Bread of Heaven, Flower of Scotland, the Marseillaise and any other song associated to your country. Then as the Haka finishes, do not clap and scream. Stand, place hand on heart and start to sing as if your life depended upon it. Make the eardrums bleed and the hearts grow. Repeat as necessary during the game and we will have done our bit. Now if only the selected players could do theirs...

  • 213.
  • At 05:43 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Richard Pirritt wrote:

The problem is not the haka, otherwise everyone would also be complaining about Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, etc.
The problem is that no matter what the English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh etc do, they'll always get totally thrashed and humiliated by the All Blacks.
The crowd loves the Haka. Look how much the Welsh crowd bleated and complained when the AB's didn't do the Haka on the field last year.
Sort your own game out people and start playing some half decent Rugby. Then, and only then, may you save yourselves from the abject humiliation meeted out to you every year by the AB's.
You look like a bunch of namby, pamby, extra soft sooks.

  • 214.
  • At 05:44 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • John Williams wrote:

Somebody is having a laugh here? It is precious to the South Seas guys. Does a serious pro rugby guy from the
NH get psyched by it? If they do they should be sent somewhere to get some help.
I know lots of people who don't give a monkeys about rugby but when they see the HAKA - in any form - they are warmed to the sport. It's a part of the game. It's
what makes this sport unique. Tell me you ain't that dumb?

  • 215.
  • At 05:48 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Nick Beach wrote:

That's ignorance, Mr Cotter. There are many versions of haka - Ka Mate was the one adopted for the All Blacks for most of their history, Kapa O Panga is the newer, more relevant version. Therefore, the tradition of All Black haka has not changed, only the version they exercise.

And I assume that in your haste to rant, you forgot to include Samoa (with their Siva Tau), Fiji (Cibi), and Tonga (Sipi Tau) in your argument? That makes 20% of World Cup teams performing their ritual war dance... or is your argument only concerned with NZ doing it?

  • 216.
  • At 05:55 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Kevin Noimagination wrote:

If we are looking at English (& Welsh?) medieval war challenges now more widely used "as a living part of the culture of" this island nation why look any further than the Agincourt Salute. Two fingers raised to prove our continued potency (admittedly as bowmen).

Morris dancing is fine if you want an excuse to get together with some mates outside a country pub and work up a mild thirst but 2 fingers seem to me to be the appropriate response to a symbolic and ritualised challenge rooted in archaic warfare.

  • 217.
  • At 06:04 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Fleming wrote:

Post 206, Firstly, they weren't banned from doing it. Wales requested their anthem be played last, the All Blacks said okay and did the Haka in their dressing room, not the tunnel. Secondly, they still went on to thrash you without the "psychological advantage" of doing it face to face with the opposition. As this showed, New Zealand doesn't have the right to perform it publicly. By all means request it not be done, but not allowing it means the crowd are cheated of the spectacle, the opposition are cheated of the chance to face it, the All Blacks will be even more psyched up, and are still going to win.

  • 218.
  • At 06:05 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • dave wrote:

re the haka debate

1. NZ is a country made up of many different people--just like England, France etc. Thats why they have Fijians, Samoans etc in the team. Big deal? thats modern life in much of the world.

2. There is nothing 'wrong' with non-Maori performing the haka, in fact, this also reflects modern NZ society and a changing acceptance of tradition--as long as the performer respects and understands the intention. A Fijian doing a Maori haka repectfully is actually a great thing if you think about it

3. NZers like it when other countries challenge the Haka--thats respect

4. I say keep the haka in rugby, it gives it another dimension, part of the great game and its traditions

5. people love the haka, it stirs them. Rugby should be proud of it

  • 219.
  • At 06:05 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Cameron Langton wrote:

Seems to me its the same people all he time who wine about the haka. Usually its people who never played a game of rugby in their life. These people also seem to be supporting teams who are regular losers when they face the AB's. You wouldn't see a South african not face up to it or not want to face it. New Zealand league teams does the Haka every test against the aussie's and majority of the time they lose. I think the gap in skill levels between NZ and many of their northen hemisphere rivals has become so vast that your looking for excuses. "lets blame he Haka" instead of looking at the structure of rugby, coaching, and development. If you want to stop the haka then stop singing "sweet low sweet chariot", or "The Fields of Athenry" in the middle of the game when the rest of us are trying to focus on he game. The haka doesn't seem to have helped NZ win too many world cups as well. The soccer is on the other channel if hugs and kiss's is what you want to see.

  • 220.
  • At 06:17 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • ben wrote:

i'm a scot. the haka was about the only entertaining and even passionate part of the 'test match' on sunday.

i only ever hear criticism of the haka from journalists, or people who have it in for the all blacks.

having as kaaoke version of land of hope and glory or waltzing matilda after the haka always seems pathetic, petty and a boring delay.

players should relish the opportunity of facing a haka immediately before a test. and for that, i've never actually heard a PLAYER complain about it. or say they don't like it becasue they get awfully intimidated.....

  • 221.
  • At 06:20 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

There seems to be alot of whining P.C do gooders about......if you do not like the Haka then go make a cup of tea!
Personally i think it is great to watch.
As for this "It gives the Kiwis an unfair advantage blah blah blah" what alot of rubbish, they have an advantage before they even get to the Park, it is called ........BEING THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD!!!!

Well Done Kiwi Mark! The first spot on comment on this blog. Seeing the haka performed by the All Blacks, made up mostly of players of European, Maori and Polynesian island descent symbolises what modern NZ (or Aotearoa) has become.. a melting pot that includes the largest Polynesian population in the world with a proud warrior and rugby tradition and 'can do' ethos that the early colonials needed, to settle in a rugged, often hostile and isolated environment.
As there are no full blooded Maori left the haka and the silver fern etc bring together hopefully) all cultures that make up 21st NZ united behind their rugby team that aspires to set new international high standards in their national game which the rest of the rugby world set their own standards by. I may be wrong but I suspect most rugby loving NZers respect the haka far more than God Defend New Zealand, why not do away with that instead if their opponents bleat about a psychological advantage.

  • 223.
  • At 06:33 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Rod Murray wrote:

Ok folks, lets just remember what this is all about-entertainment. The whole sport thing is now about entertainment, and if its not entertaining then no one will watch. Then what happens? No sponsors, no tv coverage and no more sport. The Haka is entertainment. I love watching it and even enjoyed the throat slitting aspect as I did not find it particularly offensive, just a challenge to the other sides.

Don't let rugby go down the same road as football, where UEFA and FIFA try to ban goal celebrations or anything remotely entertaining about the game.

I am not a Kiwi, but a proud Scot. I don't believe that any of the international players would be intimidated or psyched out by the Haka, and if they are then maybe they are in the wrong sport.

Lets just enjoy the spectacle, and allow the Pacific Nations to do what they do. If they are going to ban the Haka, then maybe Flower of Scotland should not be played with pipes any more and the English fans should be banned from singing that "swing low" thing. NZ win because they are good. Not because the rest of us a scared of them.

Get a grip people and enjoy the games!

  • 224.
  • At 07:01 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Should the English, Scots, etc not juts line up in two rows, the first row kneeling, the second row standing, take aim with imaginary rifles at the haka, and fire at will.

Then point to the union jack on the NZ flag and say proudly, "ours"....

  • 225.
  • At 07:35 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Towl wrote:

Come on Jock, are you really so small minded? There was more skill and enthusiasm put into performing the Haka on Sunday than the whole eighty minutes the pathetic Scots managed after it. (At least it gave the home fans something to cheer, there was nothing else later.)But I suppose it's okay is it, for fifty or so of your lot to dress up in Rod Stewart wigs, skirts and glue on chin stubble and rampage round the England team lining up at Murrayfield screaming death to the English (after they've paid us of course). Come on fellah, it wasn't the Haka that beat you, just be grateful you were on the same pitch as they were. You didn't deserve to be.
Mike Towl
Lagos
Portugal

  • 226.
  • At 07:42 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Callum wrote:

At the moment the haka is the only interesting thing happening at All Blacks match, especially when teams like the Scots field a second team. It would really be nice for the All Blacks to be challenged in the pool games for once - I'm glad that they might be playing France in the quarter finals this year!

  • 227.
  • At 07:44 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Season's Greeting wrote:

I can understand how the Poms don't respect the traditions of the Haka ... send me an email and I'll explain in a "season's greeting" card to you!

  • 228.
  • At 07:54 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Ban the Haka wrote:

Yes, let's ban the haka ... and while we're at it:

- Ban NZ from playing in "All Black" (perhaps pink might be a more soothing colour?),

- Give both teams a ball, and

- Do away with the score


C'mon boys, I know the rugby hasn't be great at the RWC, but let's focus on the game ...

  • 229.
  • At 07:54 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew Burrill wrote:

I think the English team should respond with a full version of Swing Low complete with actions.........

  • 230.
  • At 07:55 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

You can whinge all you like about the Haka, England. Why not re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic whilst you are at it?

You have the right of reply - just like your fans at Twickenham who like to boo you off the pitch after your "rugby" display.

I look forward to your world cup exit on Friday.

  • 231.
  • At 07:57 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Richard Lloyd wrote:

Since none of them have a team this year that can beat the AB's on the field, once again the Home Nations have to start moaning about the haka and make ignorant comments about our so-called "poached" P.I. players.

How boring and repetitive.

The haka is a spectacle and one of those things that gives international rugby it's rich flavour.

It's funny how France, South Africa and Australia don't mind the haka,that's because they actually plan to beat us in a game, not look for an excuse.

  • 232.
  • At 08:09 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • teddy wrote:

I think teams should be allowed do this when it's Haka time! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqlBmszLIN0

Can't remember what the kiwi reaction was afterwards, but I will never ever forget this moment when Big Willie Anderson got the whole team, crowd and country (those watching) revved up...

Shame we lost!

  • 233.
  • At 08:10 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • John wrote:

The whingeing about the haka from opposition fans has only just started up in the past decade because they think the All Blacks win because of it. What a load of british superstitious rubbish. It helps the All Blacks win! Indeed. As a NZder I don't need to remind you lot that the All Blacks do not always win. In fact, they've choked at every world cup since the first one! Unfair advantage my bum. By the same logic, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji are worldbeaters because of their hakas.

I think people have only started whingeing now because the All Blacks actually do the haka properly. Before 1986, the haka was disgracefully done. It resembled a jig in the park. Now, the All Blacks do it properly, and everyone gets their knickers in a twist because it is no longer a novelty but it has been transformed into this megaforce that makes the All Blacks win. Well, the All Blacks have been winning most of their games since the early 20th century, pre-1986. Are you going to say that the haka jigs in the park prior to 1986 helped the All Blacks win? It is a ridiculous argument. The All Blacks win because they play better rugby. Not because of the haka.

The haka is most definitely a tradition peculiar to rugby. And why not? Rugby should keep its traditions - the hymn-singing crowds, the beers with the opposition after the game, the jersey-swapping, the hakas!, the presentation of caps etc etc etc. It makes rugby unique amongst the world's professional sports.

So many people here are also totally ignorant of past 'responses' to the haka. When Willie Anderson advanced his Irish line, the All Blacks were greatly honoured. Buck Shelford said so himself after the game. THAT is how you should respond to a haka! When Richard Cockerill eyeballed Norm Hewitt, the All Blacks didn't mind one bit. That is exactly how opposition teams should respond. When the Springboks advanced at the 1995 world cup final, nobody complained.

As for Brian O'driscoll complaining about the "All Blacks reaction" after the throw in air gesture, well the All Blacks should sue him for defamation. NOBODY IN THE ALL BLACKS COMPLAINED ABOUT THAT. NOBODY. Brian must've made it up.

Get over the haka people. It doesn't give the All Blacks any advantage, and the All Blacks do not complain if the opposition players want to advance upon them, or the crowd sings songs in response or over them. It does get a little galling though when national bloody unions want to choreograph things to deliberately get at the All Blacks by putting the haka before the national anthem. Let the haka be done after the anthems, let the players respond however way they want, and let the crowds sing over the top or however they want. The British need to stop their constant whingeing over this bit of rugby tradition.

....Oh and Kapa O Pango is A haka. Just like Kamate is A haka. No haka is THE haka. The 1905 'kamate' haka was different to the 1935 haka which was different to the 1955 haka which was different to the 1986 haka. Why not have a new haka as part of the two hakas performed by the All Blacks?

Get over it.

  • 234.
  • At 08:12 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

RE Declans comment 52
"I like the Haka and respect the AB's but slightly less so than if the team were actually full of New Zealanders as it patently isn't."

All of the All Blacks are New Zealanders, IRB rules preclude non national being represented.

If your gripe is that they were not born in NZ, all the "immigrants" arrived in New Zealand during their schoolyears, unlike the professional sportsmen who entered Australia under the "Sport Visa" and now represent Australia.

  • 235.
  • At 08:21 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Donald wrote:

I suggest the Scots do "the dashing white sergeant" or an eightsome reel. Would need a sub to make 2 sets, right enough. A Gay Gordon might not be suitable, can't think why

  • 236.
  • At 08:26 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • tomthepom wrote:

i ceased to have any respect for this ritual when the ridiculous throat-slitting gestures were introduced, and now refuse to call it by any name other than 'the silly dance'

  • 237.
  • At 08:35 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Jack Murray wrote:

Perhaps if Ireland, by some miracle, do end up playing NZ they should get some nice girls to Riverdance DURING the game like cheerleaders: it may distract All Blacks. If it does not then at the very least future NZ opposition can wonder out loud during the Haka why not and the Irish in the crowd will have the pain of ineveitable defeat dulled by 50 pairs of shapely legs. My preferred option is that Ireland remembers that they CAN play.....

  • 238.
  • At 08:35 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • MikeH wrote:

As always with these comments, most people read what they want to read into a debate, don't make a proper attempt to answer the writer's points and then bring their own agenda. The chippy Kiwis, who bang on about the Haka being "a spectacle" and that the NH are only sore about it because they are scared of the All Blacks, haven't even attempted to address the writer's point about NZ getting special treatment. Nor have they explained why the All Blacks are so "precious" about teams ignoring their little dance. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do it in the dressing room in future (and then see how long it continues as a "tradition").

  • 239.
  • At 08:35 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • tim skelton wrote:

Agree completely. Also remember seeing the Haka at one cold game when pre kick off the All Blacks did their aerobic work out and the other team allowed their muscles to get cold.
Just because someone issues a challenge does not mean you have to respect them for it...plenty of challenges are made on a regular basis that we all have to ignore or at least not allow them to intimidate.
If for example a team wants to respond to this antic in their own way ie the scots in Braveheart or Sid James and crew in Carry on up the Khyber, then so be it.
One team challenges another before the game and the other team has to stand there and respectfully accept it.....is this balance?

  • 240.
  • At 08:36 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I think you need to go away and do some proper research about what a haka means, which is what you probably should have done before you wrote this article. There has never been one haka, there are many, and they can be created so your point about tradition is ignorant and wrong.

Also the other team can respond to the challenge - surely you have watched NZ play Samoa before, since you are such an authority on the game. But singing a song is not a challenge and neither is singing an anthem - its an anthem! So do your response then - there's no problem.

There is an accepted way to face the haka, but if you chose to ignore that then so be it, and all the better to NZ - do you understand what that means if you do that Mr Authority?

And once again there is a lot of comment above about NZ being made up of many different cultures - correct it is! Go away and do some research about the current make up of NZ society and the forces of immigration at play in that part of the world, then write your comments on here. Ignorance - and a large chip on most of your shoulders. Do you here NZ complaining that 13 of the Samoan team were born in NZ but are now playing for Samoa?

  • 241.
  • At 08:37 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Horsey wrote:

As a kiwi, the haka connects us with our country, our culture and our rugby history. It is far more important than our pointless national anthem and outdated flag.

The way I see it, those who think the haka should be cancelled have zero appreciation of rugby history. The game would be much poorer were the haka to be banned. In fact, the mere suggestion is rather offensive and only shows the complete ignorance of the original author.

  • 242.
  • At 08:38 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • darcy.k@sky.com wrote:

Is it just me or does anyone else see the massive overdose of irony when a team mostly made up of white anglo-saxons performs the war-dance of a nation that they tried hard to wipe out?

It's like white Australians doing an Australian Aboriginal dance...I guess it's lucky there's some left from whom to learn.

Or...white South Africans dancing an African tribal dance.

None of these will erase the recent history and associated guilt of the white settlers.

All that said, NZ could go out, do a riverdance, morris dance, whatever...then play in corsets and victorian dresses and still wipe the floor with the best that the NH can serve up this year.

NH sides should exercise their right of reply or whatever it is, or simply turn their backs just to wind the kiwis up a little more. After all it makes them play even blindingly better rugby.

  • 243.
  • At 08:41 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

I think they should do it in the changing rooms like they ahd to do against...... Wales I think.

That way they their bit of traditionalism and the athems come after.

  • 244.
  • At 08:47 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Paul G (an englishman) wrote:

Oh how I miss the days when the British turned up and responded to the Haka with great rugby rather than interminable whining!
I find the Haka to be one of the truly unique things about this sport that we all love. I enjoy watching it and love that it gets the fans fired up at both ends of the park. I feel it adds far more to the game than it takes away, and can't help but pity the grey legions who want to make rugby as uniform and sterile as the rest of their tepid sports.
If you want to see insipid little wastrels bowing to public pressure and permanently aware of the cameras then I think the football is just starting over on Sky sports 1.

  • 245.
  • At 08:47 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • mike the kiwi wrote:

Good to see the haka's getting under your skin !

Would love to see your front row doing the lambada - lets just hope they're better at it than they are at scrummaging !!

  • 246.
  • At 08:50 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Tim Flower wrote:

I don't think any of you are entitled to comment on something you have never faced - having had the oppotunity of facing the Fijian and Tongan Haka's as a school boy it fires the person faceing it up as much as those performing it!! It is a challage to war and rugby is the modern day version of war so enjoy watching it - let the players enjoy performing/facing it and find someting more relavant to comment on like when are the ref's going to invoke the crossing laws properly!!

  • 247.
  • At 08:52 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • mark starr wrote:

As an australian, the only thing we have ever responded with is waltz sing maltida, not very motivating!!!

  • 248.
  • At 08:54 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • James Smith wrote:

Couldn't agree with you more Andrew...

  • 249.
  • At 09:03 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • george davidson wrote:

I WATCHED BOTH FRANCE AND KIWIS AND I THINK THEY ARE POOR SPORTSMAN AND COCKIE THEY WILL BE BEATEN AND I WILL ENJOY THE MOMENT. KIWI no1 AT MURRAYFIELD WHO WENT IN WITH HIS HEAD SHOULD HAVE BEEN SENT OFF.GOOD TV COVERAGE BUT AS IN SOCCER TO MANY EXPERTS

  • 250.
  • At 09:04 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Larry wrote:

If the NZers wish to perform the Haka when playing at home so be it. That should be their right.
When they are playing away or in tournaments outside NZ then it should be dropped compleetely.
Why should the other team stand there like gobshites to indulge this crowd just so they don't throw a hissy fit ala Cardiff last year?
Let them perform it in their dressing room if they insist.

  • 251.
  • At 09:05 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Gordi H wrote:

Oh dear, dear, dear !! What a bitter lot a few years of poor rugby has turned the northern hemisphere into.

The haka is a rugby institution.....people talk about throwing toys out of prams, this is what the article is and what most of the responses are. I am an ex-pro and love rugby and all of it's traditions. Watching the Boks front up to the haka is a pleasure, it has psyched them up to produce performances over and beyond their abilities at the time, as Oz Du Randy will attest to. And as for situations where NZ meet Tonga, Samoa, Fiji (and the wonderful Nuie Islands) they face off against each other.

These are not dances as so many have ignorantly stated, they are prayers, drawing power and strength from the earth and sea to fill their bodies and spirits so that they are ready for the battle ahead.

So quit with the whining and embrace rugby at it's best.

We should be more concerned at the gulf in rugby skills, never mind the haka...if people put half the energy into building the game as they did in their responses, we might not be worlds apart once the game begins !

  • 252.
  • At 09:06 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • john wrote:

Quite Agree.
This traditional stuff is nonsense.
While we're sorting that one out also get rid of the notion that one country can have 3 teams (England,Wales,Scotland) playing in the same competition.

  • 253.
  • At 09:07 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • phil tomkinson wrote:

The easiest way to solve this debate? Poll any debutant test player from a team playing NZ. "Want to face the haka?" bet 95% would say "damn right" they having grown up watching the game as kids. The legacy is not NZ's alone but the rugby playing world's. Face the Haka and you've reached the Everest of the game, same as playing a test on Twickenham or any of the great grounds. Each Union has it's history...Lansdowne, Murray Field etc part of "ours and your's" is the Haka. WE have a special game with quirky special bits, hang on to them...the future may not be so thanks to political correctivness.

  • 254.
  • At 09:07 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • babbo_umbro wrote:

I think Andrew Cotter raises an interesting point. Either the haka - or should it be "a" haka - is a harmless bit of theatre, in which case the ABs should be content to perform it before any other part of the starting ceremony - or it is a serious rite - in which case perhaps it should be performed in private - or it is a means of gaining some sort of advantage - in which case it should be stopped. I would have been inclined to support the second possibility exept that the NZers are too precious about any criticism and its use in commercial advertising reduces it to the level of a theatrical performance.

As a matter of interest, my father could remember hakas danced by NZers with Maori blood who were in his squadron during the war.

  • 255.
  • At 09:08 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Tez wrote:

The longest, and in quickest time, blog so far?!
C'mon let them do it if it makes them feel better. The real talking is done on the pitch. The ABs would not feel so good about doing it if they were an average team (has there ever been an average AB team??).
When other teams, especially NH ones, can beat them on a regular basis, the haka will lose its significance.

As a Welshman, I've watched All Blacks sides perform the Haka since the mid-1950s.

The manner of performance has changed hugely over the years, but the crowds in the stadiums have always seen it as good entertainment.

I don't think the Haka gives New Zealand any big 'psychological advantage'.

But if it does help fire them up, then the same could be said of their watching opponents, who shouldn't be on the field if they let the Haka demoralise them!



  • 257.
  • At 09:11 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • gmcg wrote:

I think they should be encouraged to revert to the traditional 70's version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ96rNaHR_E&mode=related&search=

  • 258.
  • At 09:15 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • jonny booth wrote:

Its not the haka that makes new zealand have an advantage it's the fact they have a better rugby team. i don't remember it being a problem to England fans four years ago when we had a competative team. Stop winging england fans. Enjoy the spectacle and concentrate on playing better rugby

  • 259.
  • At 09:17 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Junior Donnelly wrote:

As a Kiwi I have always supported and loved the Haka. Doing our own one before games at college certainly got you pumped to smash the hell out of the oppostition. In regards to other countries response to it--All of us loved it when the Irish and Scots used to form a line and walk towards the AB's--good on them!! Why be intimidated from the start--plus it sets the tone up for an awesome game.
Keep on with the Haka, but good on to any team fronting up to it!!

  • 260.
  • At 09:19 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Chuck Hay wrote:

Haka? absolute nonsense. Has nothing to do with rugby. Why should the opponents have to watch this outrageous piece of mind twisting. National anthems only prior to a rugby match. If they want to do a Haka then in their dressing room before,after or any other time. This is supposed to be a civilised world not one where one team is allowed to play their WAR DANCE and insist their opponents watch and show respect to their antic's. Do they need to act this way prior to a game,are they so lacking in respect for their opponents? Give it up and grow up. If England were to dance with bells around their knees and the Scots do an eightsome reel would they be prepared to watch and show respect - no laughing allowed, that would be disrespectful? Haka - give up and grow up. Chuck

  • 261.
  • At 09:22 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

Typical whining from the English.

It seems there is nothing wrong with the other Pacific Island nations' war dances to you myopic cyclops' in England.

You just don't get it do you people?

The haka can be greeted by the opposition in whatever manner they see fit - the All Blacks have no choice about it. By the same token, the All Blacks are entitled to get offended or precious about these reactions to the haka.

Perhaps all you outed closet haka haters should worry about the sorry state of English rugby and stop wasting time moaning about pre-game ceremony.

  • 262.
  • At 09:23 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Andy L wrote:

I could understand them doing the haka if they were all Maoris. A lot of them are Anglo Saxon, or remember Sean Fitzpatrick, mmm surely Irish ancestry. What about all the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans who play for them.
Let them carry on with, but let the opposition do whatever they want.

  • 263.
  • At 09:32 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • james wrote:

I agree. The haka is a spectacle that should be reserved for friendly matches at best. At a World cup there is no need for it. The hosts have the advantage of playing their games at home but otherwise there should be neutrality in matches. I still think that teams that face the haka with tracksuits on and take their time getting ready after it are doing the right thing. I am sure the Australians won't have Waltzing Matilda blaring out in France as they do at home games.It annoys me that they continue to do it and seem to have a hold over the IRB. it is time it changed.

  • 264.
  • At 09:33 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Tim Crooks wrote:

I don't know how I feel one way or the other about the haka but this is the most amusing World Cup blog I've read so far. Thanks for making me chuckle.

  • 265.
  • At 09:39 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • S wrote:

the Haka is entertaining and possibly intimidating to those not prepared to accept it - however a response is definitely required as it is a formal challenge. Perhaps we should have the manners to execute a reply with either the brazen courage of a Regan walk in a line extended (not holding hands or hunched together) to within their nostril hairs or ask a Guards band to march straight through them when leaving the fild - either way it is extremely bad manners for them to think they can have a final say after any national anthem has been performed. just because it has been done before does not make it a tradition and certainly not a right.

  • 266.
  • At 09:39 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • roger shelley wrote:

grouchmonkey has clearly never been at Twickenham when the English National Anthem has been sung, because he would have to accept that it can be and is a stirring song when rendered by 70000 voices.

  • 267.
  • At 09:40 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • AtheAussie wrote:

What is all the fuss over? I think the haka is brilliant. The Kiwis only have a psychological advantage over you if you give it. I think there is nothing more exciting than watching the haka and George Gregan staring down at them. Personally I think its Gregan who gets the psychological advantage. Does a stare get any more intense! And as for all the nonsense about non-born Kiwis - grow up. We live in a world of moving populations and both Australia and New Zealand are proud of the various heritages and cultures that make up our countries. We are lands of migrants and it doesn't matter what your birth certificate says - its what is in your heart.

  • 268.
  • At 09:42 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

The Haka, I Love it!!!

I do agree however that there should be a right to reply. Or as has been stated have the haka following the NZ anthem but before the opposing teams anthem.

Personally though i dont think the england team should morris dance, the way they are playing at the moment the birdie Dance would, be more appropriate!!

  • 269.
  • At 09:45 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Shaun M - I, for one, am not questioning the right of naturalised New Zealanders to play for their country.

What I do question is the consequent relevance of a war dance that has no historical and cultural significance for them and pleanty of other All Black players.

For me, the Haka is nothing more than a bit of extra team bonding just prior to the match. Anyone who says it is not used to gain psychological advantage is plain wrong.

As to whether they should be prevented from doing it, I'm not really bothered either way. The challenge for every team in this world cup is to find a way of beating them during the 80 minutes.

  • 270.
  • At 09:47 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • JimW wrote:

Talk about a lot of namby pamby whining.

So the only reason the All Blacks win their matches because they get to do the haka just before the game starts?

Oh please! Grow up and grow a set of.... Its been quoted by international players already that if you are intimidated by the sight of it you shouldn't really be on a rugby pitch at all.

And finally as for the professional/amateur issue, yeah you're right. Lets drop every tradition that makes rugby interesting and embrace professionalism with its multi-coloured splotchly jerseys and socks.

Complete load of rubbish.

I thought that the only reason that the Haka is performed is because the British requested it for a tour by the All Blacks around the turn of the century. So, point one, it’s our fault in the first place.

Number two, there does seem to be some sort of right to reply. The Aussies have introduced a camp fire rendition of Waltzing Matilda for home matches. I’m not sure this does much to get the home team fired up because when I’ve seen it the whole thing has been more Camp than Fire.

Third, we were treated to the Tongan Haka last weekend. Even sat looking at their backs it was enough for me and my three friends to get angry and fired up enough to be willing to go and line up with the England squad. It’s a bit like standing in the street and having some bloke walk up to you and say ‘want a fight’. The sensible option is to say no and go away, but when you’re dressed for the occasion, have warmed up and just had Martin Corry shouting in your ear for the last ten minutes about passion and pride… well, why not!

  • 272.
  • At 09:56 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

mark starr in post 255 - surely as an Australian you've responded to the haka best of all teams, perhaps along with Eng & RSA - you have won the World Cup more recently!

The true gripe most people have with the All Blacks is not the haka - its a fabulous spectacle and if that's helping to beat other sides, well then how pathetic must those opponents be??! - its the use of Pacific Islanders in their team. Maybe NZ should be rebranded as the Pacific Lions?

  • 273.
  • At 10:04 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

I have agreed with the sentiment of this for some time. It must be frustrating for the opposition to have to stand there and watch knowing that anything they do will get them in trouble (with the press but more importantly with the 20 stone out house they just offended).

How about all nations submit a proposal for a pyshcing up thing before the game - would improve the rugby if you ask me.

Serious suggestions...

Scotland - lone bagpiper and a flag bearer
England - couple of BIG drums banging away with a flagbearer
Ireland - ok, I have run out of ideas now!

  • 274.
  • At 10:08 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Chris John wrote:

Hear Hear!

'nuff said

  • 275.
  • At 10:10 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • sean C wrote:

In November 2006 The Haka was held in private on Saturday in protest at Wales' plan to "respond" with their own national anthem. Also, believe it or not the ABs wanted an apology from the WRU afterwards.

Ive always understood the ABs doing the Haka, take any advantage you can over the other team. What Ive never understood it the opposition having to stand still and behave respectfully to this War dance. Fair dues to the Italians and aussies who completely ignored it or the Irish a long time ago when Willie Anderson was captain, they all walked right up to the ABs faces during the Haka. It just doesnt have the ame 'blood curdling effect whan the opposition are practicing lineouts at the far end of the pitch.

  • 276.
  • At 10:11 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Thomas Quayle wrote:

I've been to AB matches in Australia where the crowd has responded with 'Walzing Matilda', and in Wales where the response has come in the form of 'Cwm Rhondda'. So, there has been a right of reply in the past, I see no reason why there shouldn't be one now. Perhaps then the onus is on the other nations to come up with an exciting and motivational response . . . sure beats whinning.

As for the 'new' Haka not being traditional, Haka is simply a generic word for Maori dance. Just like Scottish Highland dance, it is not restricted to the one form. I cannot think of a reason why the AB Haka shouldn't be allowed to evolve, for it is Haka that is traditional, not 'the' Haka.

  • 277.
  • At 10:12 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Alasdair wrote:

Keep the Hakka. Not only is it a crowd pleaser in its own right but it is unique to Rugby and should not be lost, or watered down by stupid tit for tat “war dances”. It appears to me that the PC Brigade within and without the Rugby establishment are the ones who want rid of the Hakka. I don’t hear any players complaining. Should the Hakka be lost, where does it stop? Do golfers stop wearing colourful clothing in case it puts other players off? Do we stop football teams like Celtic forming the “huddle” in case it is more advantages over other teams? I think not. As a former Rugby player I feel that any team facing the Hakka or its ilk, uses it to their advantage. If any Rugby player, especially at International level is going to be intimidated by a lot of shouting and gesturing then they should not be playing Rugby in the first place

  • 278.
  • At 10:15 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Steve Preston wrote:

Agree with all who say that opposition should treat the Haka as they wish. It is not that traditional anyway - brought in in the seventies I believe and as i'm 42 tradition does not mean in my life time. Perhaps England in the semis could meet it with some Northern dancing to, say, the Happy Mondays. We could bring 'Baz' on with his triangle or whatever he played. That'll scare 'em. Sorted!

  • 279.
  • At 10:15 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • JOHN wrote:

Fine, respect the tradition but there is no obligation for the other side to "passively partake" in it. Let the New Zealanders do the Haka, and just go and line up for the kick off and wait for them to finish.

  • 280.
  • At 10:15 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

Good subject Andrew.

Despite some silly little people taking the opportunity to throw all sorts of vitriol at you, the huge number of posts here is a clear indication that there is enough opinion to make the haka a worthy blog subject.

It's a slight shame that some people don't seem to understand that a) part of a journalists job is to provoke thought and opinion, and b) that this is all really very good fun.

It's a great thing that there are many other people that do. I've been laughing constantly for the last 45 minutes at some of the writing here. Marvellous stuff. Chill out New Zealanders - you're supposed to be enjoying yourselves.

  • 281.
  • At 10:16 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • lewseylastic wrote:

I don't know why the other teams stand in a line and take it - they should walk up the other end of the pitch and ignore them, or at least put them off by blowing kisses, putting a loser sign on their foreheads, or supplying some appropriate hand gestures.

i always fancied england responding with oops up side your head (gap band) with the team doing that rowing dance.

seriously though the ref should sin bin the lot of 'em for time wasting at the beginning of the match- they will have ample time to do it while england are getting a ball out of a ruck!

  • 282.
  • At 10:16 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike Morrissey wrote:

The haka is accepted as a part of the tradition of playing against the All Blacks and is expected by most rugby fans around the world, look what happened when the ABs got all "precious" in Cardiff last year and did it for themselves in the dressing room. They were almost booed off the park.
If you don't like it, take the Aussie way, they keep their tracksuits on until the haka is finished then while they are taking them off they get John Williamson to lead off in rousing versions of 'Waltzing Matilda'. The first time they did it it killed stone dead any psychological advantage from the haka.
David Campese also took the view that the haka was for the ABs not for him so carried on with his warm up ,,, didn't always work mind, but on a number of occasions it did.

  • 283.
  • At 10:18 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • tony doolin wrote:

I am amazed that the NZ team havent choked half way through the Haka yet........four more years boys..........

  • 284.
  • At 10:18 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • hORTENSE vaughan wrote:

There is nothing to stop the other teams ignoring the HAKA and going down the pitch and forming a huddle while the ABs do their Haka.
Personally i like the Haka and am not against it as it is a cultural way of saying " we aim to ---- you"
After all why do people from the American Republic have to bow to a Duchess of Whatever at Wimbledon when they won the War of Independence that gave them the right to do away with all that Royal humbug.

  • 285.
  • At 10:19 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • whoskidnappedIreland wrote:

Lets be clear, when New Zealand win they do so because they are better than their opponents. Anyone suggesting a top international Rugby player contemplating his imminent role in a severely physical and mental battle is put at any disadvantage by a dance is wrong in my opinion. If that effected them they were already at a disadvantage.

That said it is just a challenge and should not be held as an inviolable expression of New Zealand or Maori culture. So opponents should be able to do as they see fit as surely is their right.

However take away the Haka before kickoff and Rugby will be much the poorer for it. I might even have to start watching International Association Football again.

  • 286.
  • At 10:22 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Celt wrote:

I agree with the general view of many so far that the haka is a strange conundrum at the least.

Whilst (having both travelled and lived in NZ) the importance of such cultural practices are intrinsic to the Maori people, I do agree that the use of it in a sporting context doesn't sit well with me. It is not so much the nature of it being a "violent challenge" of sorts to an opposition, it is more that as more and more indigenous societies modernise, it gets harder and harder for them to keep hold of those cultural practices that they hold so dear. By utilising it in a sporting arena in itself is I believe a misuse, but more importantly, when few (and sometimes none) of the players performing it are not actually from an iwi, it is in essence almost an insult. Ever stroll through a European city and see a blond haired bohemian sort sitting cross legged busking with a didgeridoo and think, "I'm pretty sure he's not an Aborigine?"
So in it's context, I feel the All Black use of the Haka is innappropriate and since almost all international rugby teams are no longer enthralled by it, me thinks it is kept for one reason and one reason only.... theatre. (And theatre that along with sponsorship, branding and advertising is a nice little money earner.)
So if you accept that it adds to the mystique and romanticism of an international rugby match, then bring on the fireworks, half time entertainment with Justin Timberlake and let's get the crowd chanting "DEE - FENCE, DEE - FENCE"... it's only fair.

Ban the Haka or make all NZ teams perform it, yes even their America's Cup crew and their Ladies Lawn Bowlers.

  • 287.
  • At 10:25 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Nikolai wrote:

Anyone who doesn't like it should follow a page out of Campo's book and go chuck a rugby ball around while there doiing the haka.

  • 288.
  • At 10:27 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • arnie wrote:

Quite right the opposition should be able to respond. The first time the Welsh National Anthem was sung at Cardiff was in response to the Haka. The players apparently huddled together and sang it with the crowd joining in -that must have given the players a lift?

  • 289.
  • At 10:28 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • MK1 wrote:

I used to love the Haka. But now things have changed. The kiwis have been blighted by an outbreak of political correctness throughout their land. We now have to endure the natioanl anthem in 2 languages (ala S Africa) and are expected to remain in utter silence during the haka to respect their culture. Well stuff em - after that throat slitting gesture I will be singing "Swing Low" at the top of my voice during every haka they perform at Twickers like the crowd did in November. That throat slitting gesture showed no respect and I applaud the Welsh in their response at Cardiff.

  • 290.
  • At 10:34 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Perhaps we should let the NZ side perform their tribal dance but let the opposition respond with something like 'come and have a go if you think your hard enough!'

  • 291.
  • At 10:37 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Davie Mo wrote:

I think Mr Cotter knew he'd get a lot of responses when he started this blog!

I was at Murrayfiled on Sunday as a Scotland supporter and the most entertaining action on the pitch all day was the Haka. It is one of the reason's so many people paid the extortionate ticket prices at Murrayfield to watch the AB's.

  • 292.
  • At 10:38 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike M-S wrote:

Once upon a rugby match ( as good rugby fairy stories begin) between a good Scotland team ( yes it is a fairy story) and New Zealand.A quiet hush desended over the crowd as the Haka was about to begin at the first gesture a member of the Scottish team was heard to sing "Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall" This was clearly heard by the baying masses and the dark forces (The New Zealand team and supporters). Other members of the team were seen (on TV) winking and blowing kisses to their opposite numbers. These small jestures up set the All Blacks. Scotland still lost (in a fairy story Scotland would win but this is a real story alledgely) but the score was closer than expectected. The point is if the Haka is meant to intimate the opposition, the other team is professional and should use ways to show that they will not be intimated by a New Zealand morris dance.

  • 293.
  • At 10:39 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

All said and done it has nothing to do with the Rugby or for that matter any sport(I don’t recall the Cricket team ever performing the Haka) It’s just an aggressive intension –Throat slitting an all.. Opposing teams should be allowed to respond in kind…..

  • 294.
  • At 10:40 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • patricia wrote:

I don't like it. They mean it. Remember what happened to Brian O'Driscoll, on the Lions tour, after they pumped themselves up on it. But, if it is good crowd entertainment, then let them do it without the other team in the middle of the pitch . Let them stand on the sidelines and treat it as spectator sport.

  • 295.
  • At 10:41 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Chris Morris wrote:

Oh crikey, not this old chestnut of an argument again!

For the record, there's absolutely nothing new in Andrew Cotter's moaning little rant - its the same old argument rolled out by English sports "journos" (and the odd Welsh one) whenever they need to fill a gap in their publication, and obviously quickly.

It's pretty boring, really, as is all this monotonous nodding of approval by English "rugby fans".

But here's a thought - why do English "rugby fans" seem so keen to see the spice taken out of the sport? Why focus on taking away, when you could be looking to add to the spectacle...? In other words, English "rugby fans", come up with something of your own!

Sure, us Kiwis might have a quiet chuckle while the Aussies bang on about Matilda, but we love the pre-match efforts of the Tongans, Fijians and Samoans.

I even like watching this English obsession with drop-goals and penalties, when real teams are focused on scoring tries... It's the variety of rugby that makes it so great.

  • 296.
  • At 10:41 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Ali wrote:

Can someone please explain how a Moari tradition for laying down a challenge in battle has anything to do with rugby. I am fairly certain that the Maoris did not play rugby before Eurpean settlements and therefore fail to see why it is used before a rugby match.

And to all of the All Blacks fans going on about how great your team is - true, they are the best around but I don't remember anyone saying they weren't.

I really don't think it offers a psychological advantage to the All Blacks but really don't understand the need for this ridiculous dance routine. Your preciousness about this is quite unbelievable.

  • 297.
  • At 10:43 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I think it would be absolutely hilarious if England faced the All Blacks wearing Morris Dancing outfits and performed a traditional Morris Dance routine in reply to the Haka. The sight would be priceless and indeed would be a very good comedy sketch for anyone interested!

  • 298.
  • At 10:44 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • cameronuk wrote:

I'm afraid Andrew Cotter has got it totally wrong about the Haka.

It is a great rugby tradition, welcomed by supporters around the world. OK it has evolved and changed over time but so what?

Opposing teams can do whatever they wish while it is being performed and there have been many wierd and wonderful ways of accepting the challenge thrown down.

If it was me, I'd stare the All Blacks straight in the eye and just give a simple nod at the end. Challenge accepted, let's get on with it.

Andrew Cotter can go back to his politically correct background and blog about something important.

  • 299.
  • At 10:45 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Carlito wrote:

Being a Kiwi(and all black supporter) i find it very interesting what 'the other side' think of the haka being performed. It seems the general way of thinking is that it should not be performed or at the very least a right of reply should be allowed. I personally dont want to see the haka stopped, this is due to the cultural/national pride in the all blacks. However i do agree in a right of reply (and was embarrassed about how the all blacks handled the welsh game in 06). For the best example of this watch a bok v all black game at loftus and see how the locals reaction to the haka fires up all involved, it truly makes the spine tingle. I would not want this lost to rugby.

  • 300.
  • At 10:45 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

All this nonsense about the Haka is total rubbish.Why don't all of you write to your respective unions and suggest how they can pay better rugby to be able to compete with the top nations.Us South-Africans do our talking on the pitch, not moan about a minute long war challenge and btw if the Haka scares your players maye they should take up soccer

  • 301.
  • At 10:50 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I think it would be absolutely hilarious if England faced the All Blacks wearing Morris Dancing outfits and performed a traditional Morris Dance routine in reply to the Haka. The sight would be priceless and indeed would be a very good comedy sketch for anyone interested!

  • 302.
  • At 10:51 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • ajd wrote:

I am english and have absolutely no problem with the AB,S doing the Haka.
I agree wholeheartedly with Brian Moore that if you are intimidated or have a problem with it you shouldn,t even be on the pitch.
More importantly if you are going to critcise the haka at least know what you are talking about.
The throat slitting version does not imply cutting your throat and the roots of the haka are not anywhere near as tribal , war mongering or offensive as the Tongan or Samoan if you really claim to be that bothered.
Also I witnessed in Cardiff not so long ago the welsh national anthem, followed by bread of heaven followed by yet another singer coming from the crowd and walking round the pitch trying to get the crowd wound up ! No one bothered to think that was over the top !
Get over yourself any true rugby fans would have no problem with the HAKA.

  • 303.
  • At 10:53 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Stewart wrote:

The traditional scottish response to a challenge is to go up and give them a butt to the head.

I really like the haka but it is a total unfair advantage, and I would quite like to see the Scots perform the Haka back at them .

See how they like not having the final word.

  • 304.
  • At 10:54 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Zain Griffiths wrote:

I think the Hakka is great and i agree that teams should be allowed to perform thier own versions if they chose to. I once saw South Africa vs New Zealand in a Tri-nations game in south africa and once the Kiwi's had finished thier Hakka they were challenged by a line of traditional South African Zulu warriors. This was an awsome sight and would love it to become a common part of SA rugby.

  • 305.
  • At 10:57 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • KatherineB wrote:

I realise no-one is going to read this at the bottom of all the other comments, but wanted to add my two penn'orth anyway. I don't object to the Haka, I find it interesting the players who really psych themselves up doing it, and those who look like they're trying to remember the right moves. From what I've seen so far Tonga and Samoa are much more convincing. In terms of the home nations response, I think they should sit on the pitch while the Kiwis dance their little socks off and drink a mug of tea. I rather suspect that nonchalance is a better riposte than anything else we could come up with.

Unrelated to the topic, but please could some of the numpties who post comments at least read them through before clicking on 'post' there are a few up here that are completely illiterate and make sense to neither man nor beast due to typos and crap grammar. Sorry to come over all school marm.

  • 306.
  • At 10:58 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • patricia wrote:

I don't like it. They mean it. Remember what happened to Brian O'Driscoll, on the Lions tour, after they pumped themselves up on it. But, if it is good crowd entertainment, then let them do it without the other team in the middle of the pitch . Let them stand on the sidelines and treat it as spectator sport.

  • 307.
  • At 11:00 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Terry B wrote:

Yes, we're all fed up with the All Black's haka, anyway Samoans, Tongans and Fijians do it much better. Did you see those challenges they threw at each other last Sunday in Montpellier? That was believable.

  • 308.
  • At 11:00 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

I don't think that anyone is suggesting that the reason the All Blacks are so successful (outside World Cups) is because of the haka, or that opposition players are intimidated by it or that Northern Hemisphere, and particularly British and Irish, sides don't have some serious issues to sort out. Some of the counter arguments here are of the "ha ha, your jealous, we're great" type, which rather misses the point of the article. I don't especially like the haka, particularly the new one, but don't have a problem with it being performed provided that the All Blacks don't get all precious about the response to it, which smacks of wanting their cake and eating it. For the first time in my life I find myself agreeing with David Campese whose response was to go off and practice on his own in the in goal area. If all teams did that and concentrated on their own game then the haka would cease to be an issue - it could be performed in the name of tradition but no more. Incidentally, footage of the 1973 Barbarians v All Balcks game shows the All Blacks doing a (shambolic) haka facing the crowd rather than the opposition.

  • 309.
  • At 11:02 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Eifion J wrote:

Actually, prior to RWC2003 the IRB seriously considered banning the Haka during the competition. There were rumblings about it being an unfair advantage. Apparently the voting was very close. Personally, I think it should be banned during RWCs, it can be done in their dressing room before hand if they so wish.

  • 310.
  • At 11:02 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

Perhaps the USA should be allowed their traditional assault on a small oil rich country before they start as well (Romania may have to do...).

Good article, if your going to allow traditions either allow everyone or no-one, in fact the Haka is probably one of the least suited to a rugby ground in many ways.

  • 311.
  • At 11:04 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Ray wrote:

I suppose "God Save YOUR Gracious Queen" could be seen as monotonous to those of you that still have Her Majesty as their Head of State... and the person on your coins and stamps.

The Haka is great to look at, but.. In SILVER Shirts.. Please!!! At least keep it restricted to the All Black outfits.

  • 312.
  • At 11:04 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

After complaints to the International Rugby Board about the All Blacks being allowed to motivate themselves by performing the haka, other nations were asked to suggest pre-match rituals of their own. The IRB Rugby World Cup 2007 Organising Committee has now agreed to the following pre-match displays:

* The England team will chat about the weather, wave hankies in the air and attach bells to their ankles before moaning about how they invented the game and gave it to the world, but no one appreciates them.

* The Scotland team will chant, "You lookin' at me, Jimmy?" before each of them smashes a bottle of beer over his opposite number's head.

* The Ireland team will split into two, with the southern half performing a Riverdance, while the Northerners march the traditional route from their dressing room to the pitch, via their opponents' dressing room.

* Unfortunately, the committee was unable to accept the Welsh proposal to form a choir and sing Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual.

*Two members of the Springboks will claim to be more important than the other 13, whom they will imprison between the posts. These two will then go about selecting the best parts of the pitch to settle on and claim that they have been there for centuries.

* The Italian team will arrive in Armani gear, sexually harass the female officials and then prepare pasta dishes, which they will flog to the crowd for a fortune.

* The Japanese will shock fans by demonstrating how to capture a whale for scientific research by harpooning an opposition prop.

* The Australians will have a barbecue on their side of the field and invite the opposition over before the game. The food and alcohol will be in abundance and by the start of the game no one will remember what they came to the stadium for. After some streaking, the singing of dirty songs and the occasional chunder, everyone will go home thoroughly convinced it was a bloody good night.

  • 313.
  • At 11:05 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Chris Lewis wrote:

I believe that all this hulabaloo about the haka being the last say for the all blacks is nonsence. any decent smart person would see that it is a rugby tradition not to be exploited by other nations and to be respected. For as any rugby fan knows the haka is a world symbol of rugby and i hope that they continue to perform it as it makes the game what it is...

  • 314.
  • At 11:05 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • SJ wrote:

build a bridge.
get over it.

Worry about the game itself, because there are 2 pacific nations that would love to 'war-dance' Wales and England out of the world cup this weekend.

You rarely hear any of the non 'home-nations' teams complaining about the haka, so why make a big deal? Aussie and SA thrive on it almost as much as the AB's do when they play one another in the Tri-Nations.

Concentrate on supporting your teams this coming weekend - they'll be needing it by the looks!

  • 315.
  • At 11:15 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

You've not got a clue. The haka has been part of the New Zealnad game since it began. Why should it be stopped now

  • 316.
  • At 11:15 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Having had to watch the haka for many years now, I'd have to say that the only remotely interesting thing about it is the response it gets from the opposition team. Most seem to stand still in a boring straight line, I much prefer the reponse of those teams that march straight up to the challenge and end up nose to nose, or ignore it completely like Campese used to.

I want to watch the quality of rugby they produce, not their attempt at a war dance. But they seem to have become all precious about it in recent years, when not long ago it was a joke to everyone and more akin to the morris dancing someone mentioned above.

I can't dispute the quality of their rugby, I can admit to being bored by the haka.

  • 317.
  • At 11:19 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Expatde wrote:

Ok we established so far the responses for :-
Scotland, some jumping around some swords.
Ireland, jumping around kicking legs without moving arms.
England, Morris dance.
Wales, throwing sheep.
Italy, hire Mafia hit man.
France, go on strike, blockade all ports, burn the sheep that the Welsh threw.

  • 318.
  • At 11:25 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • CC wrote:

Wow, methinks the frustrations we all experience at the airport have gone to your head and you rushed to the internet kiosk to vent.
99% of people love the haka so the sour grapes brigade and the 'NZ are pacific island poachers' crew should instead try playing chicken with a bus.

  • 319.
  • At 11:25 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

As I understood it, the first time an anthem was sung at an international was when the Welsh fans responded spontaneously to the Haka in 1905 by singing our anthem.

That was why the game on the aniversary of that game in 2005 had the Haka before the Welsh anthem. And why Wales fell out with the Kiwis when they wanted to do the same in 2006.

So I think there is a strong argument for having the Haka - all be it a much more serious version than there was pre-Buck Shelford - but only to have it before the anthems. That is the true rugby tradition!

  • 320.
  • At 11:27 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Joe wrote:

When the AB played Wales two years ago they performed their Haka inside changing room.Only beacuse they did not want to do it befroe national anthem as the the Welsh RFU demanded.
There was was no pshyc advantage for them on that game. But the score was .....you know..I do not know what is the fuss is all about...AB still won games without performing the Haka on rugby field..May be its about time to talk more about the game itself rather than the Haka...

  • 321.
  • At 11:28 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • GP wrote:

I think we should go back to the traditional haka. Watch a game from the 60's or 70's - that's what you want. A bunch of grown men playing a schoolgirls game of pat-a-cake!

There's nothing traditional about the modern haka and not many of the team are maoris!

  • 322.
  • At 11:29 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

Maybe you should just relax and be less insecure. At the end of the day anything that adds a little bit of colour to rugby has to be good for the game.

  • 323.
  • At 11:30 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Troy A wrote:

You raise a good point. Teams should have the right to reply and I doubt the AB's would have a problem with this. Most other countries just don't seem to as passionate about their cultures thus they don't offer a reply which is sad.

Teams from the Pacific Islands have always replied to the haka with their own war challenges (Haka is a Maori word and thus only applicable to the NZ challenge) and it ha