The haka 'enriches' us
Is it time to ditch the haka?
Should the haka be dumped? Should it stay? Should we only use it on special occasions?
For me there is a more important question to ponder: who gets to decide such a thing?
A lot of Kiwis haven't experienced the whakapapa of the haka and so it naturally follows that a lot of Kiwis would rather see it in a place where they believe it is better used, such as on special occasions, important sporting events, or where Maori would deem it appropriate. Fair enough too.
For me there are two groups that have the authority to decide on the use of the haka - the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Maori who composed the particular hakas used. If any one of those bodies decided to remove the haka then they should be dropped.
But two aspects are important to me if the haka stays. Firstly, how it is taught and executed, and secondly, how it is perceived by Maori.
Having grown up watching the All Blacks year after year butcher the haka it is a welcome sight to see the professional era embrace it so well. Even though the All blacks of my youth were awful at the haka, the simple fact that they were attempting something Maori, which was clearly foreign to most of them, was actually heartening for many Maori.
Today, to watch non-Maori in the All Blacks, the Kiwis, the Sevens, the Black Ferns and others perform an extremely passionate haka does good things for the hearts of many Maori. Even those silly buggers at the swimming are highlighting (rather badly) something Kiwi and something Maori.
The haka is one expression that distinguishes us from the rest of the world. Sure, it has been sucked up by commercialisation, and every man, dog and drunk tries it on, but those within sporting teams that are taught the haka well will likely be enriched for it and likewise many others that look on.
So what the haka?
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