Haka Santa a big hit - should NZ win cup

MARNIE HALLAHAN
Last updated 08:28 14/10/2011
Adrienne Owen
MARTIN DE RUYTER
KA MATE: Eyebright co-owner Adrienne Owen with a Haka Santa.

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In anticipation of rugby-mad shoppers this year the range of rugby-themed Christmas decorations at Eyebright has been extended to include a Haka Santa, which leaps into the air to perform a pukana.

The New Zealand-designed range, which is made overseas, already featured decorations such as an All Blacks Santa, rugby ball and silver fern but with the hype around the Rugby World Cup, Eyebright ordered in the latest decorations – Waka Santa, Rugby Supporter Santa and Haka Santa.

Concerns have previously been raised about products like this exploiting the haka – using it for commercial gain without respect being paid to its cultural significance.

However, local iwi liaison Barney Thomas says this is not a new phenomenon and the commercialisation of the haka has been going on for years. "But if that's what draws tourists towards our culture then so be it," he said

Rather than dwell on the idea of the haka being commercially exploited, Mr Thomas sees products such as the Haka Santa as an opportunity for people from overseas and even New Zealanders to hear about Maori culture.

"And whatever it takes to win the World Cup."

When told that demand for the decorations was high but their popularity was resting on the outcome of the tournament, Mr Thomas was disappointed.

"That's the bigger issue. You're either a fulltime All Black supporter or not."

A request for 150 of the decorations showing Santa in full All Black kit was placed ahead of Eyebright's Christmas opening celebrations yesterday, but the buyer has one condition and that is New Zealand has to win the Rugby World Cup first.

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- Nelson

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