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Waikato-Tainui support the Chiefs Manawa haka and wāhine stand

Riria Dalton-Reedy

Waikato-Tainui is standing with the Chiefs Manawa amid recent haka controversies in the Super Rugby Aupiki competition.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Waikato-Tainui is standing with the Chiefs Manawa amid recent haka controversies in the Super Rugby Aupiki competition.

It comes after star players Ruby Tui and Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu opted to not take part in their team’s pre-game haka on Saturday.

The haka, He Piko He Taniwha, is said to be a declaration of who the team are, who they represent and the people they play for in the Chiefs region.

The Chiefs have not released an explanation for the boycott, but Waikato-Tainui executive chairman Tuku Morgan said their bravery should be celebrated.

“Because they represent a region that was invaded by colonial troops which led to the wholesale confiscation of our land and future economic potential,” Morgan said.

Tuku Morgan

“Their stand normalises te reo Māori which forms the basis of our contemporary claim that has been accepted in urgency for consideration by the Waitangi Tribunal.”

The Chiefs Manawa aren’t the only team under fire, as the Hurricanes Poua led the way with their controversial pre-game haka on Saturday, March 2.

In their haka, the Poua referenced the coalition Government as “kakiwhero” (which translates to “redneck”).

Kapa haka experts say that haka has always been a platform to discuss current affairs and the issues of the day.

Whilst many others have shown their support for the Poua amidst public criticism, the club’s chief executive, Avan Lee, said the haka was done with no consultation with the organisation.

The Hurricanes Poua perform their haka. Photo / Photosport

“We did not approve of some of the words used in the Poua haka last week and made that clear,” Lee said.

However, their latest haka has been developed in consultation with the wider organisation and cultural advisers, to amend the haka respectfully.

“Players and management worked hard to understand different perspectives and acknowledge various views and opinions,” Lee said.

New Zealand Rugby kaihautū Luke Crawford highlights the importance of correct interpretation, and understanding the full context of the haka.

“The team have chosen to take a very Māori approach to the rewrite of the haka and therefore individual words inside the haka are merely representative of a far deeper body of Māori knowledge.”

The Chiefs Manawa will host Matatū at FMG Stadium Waikato this Saturday.

Hero Image: Grace Kukutai scored the match-winning try for the Chiefs Manawa against the Blues. Photo / Photosport

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