Laura Bush: We got the Haka in Texas too

01:43, Jan 31 2009
WARRIORS' WELCOME: Laura Bush was welcomed by the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, with a haka.

United States first lady Laura Bush says there is a simple explanation why she didn't flinch in Afghanistan when she was faced with shirtless, spear-wielding soldiers from New Zealand presenting a welcoming haka.

Mrs Bush said in a speech afterwards that the welcome by the New Zealand provincial reconstruction team was "a special New Zealand welcome that was very interesting and a lot of fun".

But she later told the ABC in an interview that she was able to keep her cool because she is a fan of Texas football.

CHARMED: Laura Bush meets New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan after a memorable haka.

Asked what was going through her head "as these shirtless guys were charging at you with spears?" she said:" I thought that was really great.

"I actually know about the haka because there's one football team in Texas that won state last year that happens to have a lot of Tongans ... in that area of Dallas-Fort Worth," she said.

"And they do the haka.

"If I didn't already know about it and hadn't already seen this football team on television do this, I might have been really surprised by it".

In December, the Euless Trinity Trojans -- noted for their Tongan version of a haka - won a division championship in Texan football. Euless is home to about 4000 Tongans and the pre-game haka has become the team's trademark.