Controversial haka moments relived

07:20, Sep 04 2014

The haka has had its fair share of controversy. 

From inappropriate performances to inappropriate reactions, Stuff looks at some of the most talked about performances of our beloved national ritual. 

Adams calls foul on NBA player's reaction to haka

The United States basketball dream team looked stunned, and the Turkish team stunned us in their reactions to the haka at the 2014 Basketball World Cup.

While the Tall Blacks performed the haka the Turks trundled off court to chat with their coach. 

New Zealand centre Casey Frank was unimpressed with their lack of respect.


""F*** 'em. If they don't want to respect it, then we're still going to do it. It's our challenge to them and they didn't want to accept that challenge," he said.

Even New Zealand basketball hero Steven Adams took to Twitter to call foul on NBA rival Andre Iguodala's mockery of the haka, which the US team watched with bewildered looks.

Iguodala likened the haka to a dance from Atlanta, where one shakes their leg twice before hopping on both, when he tweeted: "New Zealand thought they dance was gone intimidate us....That ain't nothing but the A town stump! #GoUSA #FIBAWorldCup2014." 

Adams retorted: "@andre show some respect for my culture."

'He ha' haka gets no hahas here

Ngati Toa got a lawyer involved to protect their intellectual property in 2011, when English Premier League football side Everton commissioned a haka of its own, based on Ka Mate.

The lyrics went:

Everton! Everton! He, ha, he, ha!

It's a grand old team, he, ha!

It's a grand old team to support

And if you know your history it's enough to make your heart go he, ha!

Spice Girls: Stop right now with that haka!

In 1997, at the height of their chart fame, girl-power pop band the Spice Girls faced derision when they performed a joking version of the haka to a crowd of 100 in Bali. 

Traditionally, the haka is only to be performed by men, and reports from the time had cultural leaders vocal about telling the girl group what they really, really did not want.

"We're sick of people bastardising our culture, and we have a way of dealing with them," broadcaster and Maori advocate Willie Jackson said.

Kidwell doesn't kid around with haka

Kangaroos player Willie Mason made a mistake at the 2006 Tri Nations by laughing and jeering as the Australian rugby league team advanced on the Kiwis during the pre-game haka. 

While the Aussie prop tried to claim he was laughing at the hypocrisy of Cairns-born Kiwi fullback Brent Webb performing the haka, the joke was lost on the New Zealand team.

Mason paid the price by taking a powerful shoulder-charge, and an earful, from David Kidwell and was forced to leave the game with a bloody nose, a swollen eye, and battered pride.

Car mate ad finds no friends in NZ

In 2006 Fiat launched a television commercial to advertise their new model. 

In the ad, a group of attractive women converge on the street to perform what is recognised as the Ka Mate haka. At the end, a woman gets into the Fiat Idea and drives away, while a toddler in the back seat cheekily pokes out his tongue.

At the time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade warned the car company that the advertisement was culturally insensitive, but Fiat went ahead anyway. 

Coke ad haka has New Zealand all shaken up

A 2010 Japanese ad for Coke Zero found zero tolerance in New Zealand.

Both Ngati Toa and the New Zealand Rugby Union spoke out against the ad, which depicted actors dressed up like All Blacks doing haka-like moves in a dance-off against a female ensemble in red corsets.

The advertising copy described the ad as "a troupe of studs from Kiwiland in the traditional Maori haka dance".

Haka accused of pulling a rude gesture

The All Blacks have been performing the Kapa O Pango haka, which ends in gesture widely interpreted as 'throat-slitting,' on and off since 2005.

They had spectators up in arms when they performed it at the 2011 Rugby World Cup finals.

At the time, Sydney Morning Herald columnist Paul Sheehan complained "the violence suggested by throat-slitting gestures has no place in sport or sportsmanship, especially in the national colours".

But a New Zealand Rugby Union review found the gesture traditionally indicates the drawing of breath into the heart and lungs.