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  • Ashleigh Putt-Fallows

Week In Review: Hurricanes Haka

ASHLEIGH PUTT-FALLOWS 

Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi-Ngāti Hine, Tūhoe


On the 9th of March the Hurricanes Poua performed a pre-game haka at the super rugby Aupaki that led to controversy. While the Hurricanes normally do haka, these were particularly notable— including reference to "karetao o te Kāwana kakiwhero" or "puppets of this redneck government", to the Toitū Te Tiriti movement, and a line translated to: "New Zealand rise up! Here is Hurutearangi. Governments are temporary, the Treaty will endure. Poua will endure." 


This was taken to heart by our deputy MPs. Winston Peters said they were “trying to insult the government”, and David called it stupid, after claiming he still defends the right for all to have free speech. Both of them also include comments about the team's loss. Peters felt the need to add “go woke go broke”, for some reason.


The Chief Executive of the Hurricanes, Avan Lee, issued an apology to the government and said he was “disappointed with the action” and the hurricanes shouldn’t be making political statements. 


The Poua were defended by their head coach, Ngatai Walker and the New Zealand Rugby Union who both said the haka was misinterpreted and that it's irresponsible to make it political. Chris Hipkins also defended the team by stating his support for protest in sport and freedom of speech "We live in a democracy, I support free speech”. 


While haka has undoubtedly become a part of New Zealand rugby culture, it is a part of Māori culture first and without the ability of players to express themselves through it, it's just another way Māori culture is being taken and used when convenient, entertaining and helpful to pākehā.


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