Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Cultural meaning of rituals in NZ rugby

The All Blacks haka and the cultural meaning of rituals in NZ rugby

August 13, 2014

Rituals in sport go far behind the All Blacks’ haka which will be performed in the opening Rugby Championship match against Australia in Sydney on Saturday night. The haka is one of the most famous rituals in world sport and holds great meaning for the All Blacks and all New Zealanders.

Increasing exposure to the All Blacks in global sport has reduced fear of them for many opponents but before the ball is touched the same teams have to deal with the impact of the haka, the University of Canterbury’s new Head of School of Sport and Physical Education, Professor Richard Light, says.

National teams, like the Wallabies, may deny having any anxiety about facing it but have experimented with a range of ways of dealing with the haka, he says.

``Rituals are well-defined sequence of actions and words that focus attention and are full of meaning for participants and observers. Rituals such as weddings, funerals and university graduations help people through significant changes in life. In elite level international sport they perform a similar function.

``Rugby is very much a team sport with many rituals shared by teams around the world that function to integrate the individual into the team as a single entity. At the same time, these rituals move the players, stage by stage, from the civilian life to the intensity of rule-bound battle on the ‘sacred’ ground that few of us can ever truly understand.

``The Richie McCaw that will take on the Wallabies pack in Sydney on Saturday night will not be the same Richie McCaw you might see on the weekend in Christchurch.

``Leading up to the match teams have a similar progressions of rituals that intensify bonds between players, integrate them into the team and prepare them for battle. Donning the team’s and nation’s colours is a symbolic act but with more meaning than just having had to earn the jersey. They also mark entry into, and believing in, the culture of the team and its values that will be enacted on the field.

``Once out of the changing room the final ritual for the All Blacks is the haka as a spectacular ritual that has a powerful influence on the team performing it and on the team facing it. Although there have been complaints about how it can intimidate the opposition, all teams respect it as part of rugby heritage and a spectacle that sets rugby apart from other sports.

``On show for the whole world, the haka also confirms shared cultural beliefs and values for New Zealanders. At the same time it communicates much about New Zealand culture to the outside world and about the successful integration of Māori and Pākehā culture on and off the rugby field.’’

Professor Light has coached rugby and taught in Australia and Japan and has conducted extensive research on sport in Japan with a focus on rugby. He has 30 years’ training in karate, holds a 5th dan black belt and was Australian kickboxing champion.

He has carried out significant research on rugby and is especially interested in the influence of Maori culture on rugby in New Zealand and the Maori conceptions of wellbeing. He has received a $330,000 Australian Research Council (ARC) discovery grant to research this area with a Sydney researcher.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: Orson Welles' Masterpiece - 'Chimes At Midnight'

Never widely distributed in the US, but Welles' own personal favorite and hugely influential on directors as diverse as Kenneth Branagh and Mel Gibson, a restored 50th anniversary print has now reached the New Zealand Film Festival. More>>

Off To Leeds: Wellington’s Local Naked Girl Spreads Her Wings

Wellington born, bred and based live artist Virginia Kennard, self confessed “local naked girl”, has earned a place on the MA in Performance programme at Leeds Beckett University and flies away in 2 months time. More>>

Free Diving: William Trubridge Breaks World Record

With just a single breath, New Zealand free diver William Trubridge has successfully broken his own unassisted free dive world record of 101 metres. More>>

ALSO:

RLWC 2017 Draw: New Zealand Set For A Festival Of Rugby League

New Zealand Rugby League fans will have the chance to see the Kiwis in action against the best in the Pacific region for the Rugby League World Cup 2017, as announced today at the Official Tournament Draw. More>>

ALSO:

Non-Pokemon News: Magical Park A Safer Augmented Reality For Younger Audiences

Since May, Wellington City Council has been trialling a new app, Magical Park, in collaboration with the game’s New Zealand developer Geo AR Games, in parks around the city. Magical Park uses GPS technology to get users moving around the park to play within a set boundary. More>>

'Erroneous': Pokemon App Makers On Huge Privacy Flaw

We recently discovered that the Pokémon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user's Google account... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news