Haka benefits the All Blacks on and off the field
Former All Black says the haka benefits the All Blacks on and off the field
August 15, 2014
Former All Black rugby player Dallas Seymour says using the haka as a form of pre-match expression benefits the All Blacks, on and off the field.
The All Blacks will perform the haka against the Wallabies before their test in Sydney on Saturday night as they aim to preserve their unbeaten record in the Rugby Championship and secure a world-record 18th straight test win.
Seymour, a double degree graduate of the University of Canterbury, says the haka gives the All Blacks an edge because they more readily understand the concept of both haka, Ka Mate and Kapa o Pango, as well as other aspects of Maori culture.
“They are in a much better space to exploit and use it to their own advantage. Once we get past the statesmanship of national anthems it’s down to brass tacks and the battle. Regardless of what the opposition or anyone else thinks it’s us versus them and may the best team win with whatever tools are at their disposal. We don’t need to apologise at all for that.
“The All Blacks also give licence for other nations to do the same and celebrate their own unique identity and culture. Rewind the clock to when Wallabies captain John Eales said he wouldn’t feel comfortable performing the Aboriginal equivalent. The Wallabies are all citizens of Australia and rightly should have indigenous culture as a core part of who they are.
“How they do that is up to them – it may be a reply to the haka with an appropriate indigenous response, guided by indigenous peoples first and foremost, or some other way that gives them the edge. Whatever it is, they could use it if they want to and respect it.
“People should remember that by virtue of doing the haka, does not mean there is successful integration of cultures across society. However, it does demonstrate that it can successfully be integrated when done so with understanding and the right knowledge with the right people.
“The haka has more currency by the All Blacks leading and showing the way for other countries – it creates the debate from which we can move forward and add to the uniqueness of rugby worldwide.
“Rather than other countries bemoaning our edge we encourage them to tap into their own cultures and show us what they have. I would love to hear responses in Gaelic, Welsh, Japanese, or Australia’s indigenous culture.
“I am not an expert in haka but this is how I feel as an ex-All Black, New Zealand Maori and Sevens player, with experience in the Commonwealth and Olympics space, and someone that has stood up for our culture in those environments,” Seymour says.