The All Blacks didn’t perform their haka in front of 70,000 fervent rugby fans in Wales. Welsh officials wanted the anthems after the haka, NZ team and officials demurred. So the haka was performed in private in the changing shed, and the Welsh ended up doubly embarrassed (the score was not flattering either)
This haka incident is troubling for several reasons.
Firstly – the haka has been over-performed in recent years as international rugby games (union and league) have increased in frequency,
Secondly although the haka is now a tightly choreographed event, and is practiced and performed with pride and respect, it is increasingly seen as just part of the entertainment whenever the All Blacks play.
Finally while the reason for the non-performance has been blamed on petty bureaucrats, whether from Wales or New Zealand, we must not forget that this is essentially about money. I’m not sure exactly how, but somehow business got in the way of spirit, and in Wales of all places.
Here’s a suggestion – why not bury the haka, hold it back for the games that really matter and really have meaning. France at the 100th anniversary of All-Blacks France matches. Lions tests. The Tri Nations decider, the second Bledisloe cup game against Australia, and the final of the World Cup.
That way the mana of the haka will be preserved, and petty officials around the world will scamper to encourage the All Blacks to perform the haka on any terms.
All the right things are being said by NZ team and management – they get it.