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

 
Ray Columbus: NZ Music Icon Passes Away

60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland... Ray Columbus enjoyed more than three decades at the top of NZ entertainment as a singer, songwriter, bandleader, music manager and TV star. More>>

Review: Bernard Herrmann's Scores For 'Vertigo' & 'Psycho'

Howard Davis: The NZSO's adventurousness was richly-rewarded, as the deeply appreciative Wellington audience was given the opportunity not only to see a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, but also to hear fine renditions of two of Bernard Herrmann's most accomplished film scores. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Leonard Cohen

If Bob Dylan owned the 1960s, Leonard Cohen was an inescapable presence during the early 1970s period, pre-disco and pre-punk. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Pick And Camera

Through the eyes of a miner – the photography of Joseph Divis: The occupations of miner and photographer are seldom combined. The conjunction must have been very rare indeed in the era before hand-held cameras, high-speed film and flashlights More>>


Howard Davis: Review - The Cosmic Dance Of 'String Theory'

Fly My Pretties sixth album is quite possibly their best yet - a concept album in the best sense, with superb arrangements, funky grooves, and some great vocalizing, all organized around the lyrical leitmotif of string theory. More>>

Non-Natural History: Dinosaur Eggs 'Discovered' At Auckland Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens plant curators have unearthed what are thought to be prehistoric dinosaur eggs in the Gondwana Forest section of the expansive garden in Manurewa... In fact, the “dinosaur eggs” are part of an innovative, larger-than-life dinosaur performance and display featuring a raptor, a crested therapod and a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex. More>>

For The Birds: Kōkako Crowned Bird Of The Year

The Kōkako has been crowned New Zealand's Bird of the Year after two weeks of close competition and heated campaigning. More>>

ALSO:

  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Culture
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news