Inappropriate gesture in Blues haka

I didn’t see the Blues haka preceding last night’s game against the Lions, but Missy points out a very poorly considered gesture in the haka – throat slitting. It may or may not have been a planned part as not all players did it.


A piece on the rugby this morning in the Telegraph brings up a valid point that should perhaps have been more thought out by the Blues prior to the game. The writer points out the haka ending with the throat slitting gesture was inappropriate for the game today.

It is in premium, but the relevant part is below:

“Nobody wants it to turn into an international incident, but surely someone in the Blues set-up should have spotted the tasteless juxtaposition.

Holding a minute’s silence for the victims of the Manchester bomb and the London knife attacks and then, immediately afterwards, performing a tribal dance which concludes with a collection of throat-slitting gestures in the direction of the British and Irish opposition.

At the very best it could be described as inappropriate.

It was a real shame, because the Blues had put plenty of work into their bespoke haka to honour those recently departed, including Jonah Lomu. The intention had clearly been uplifting and positive. Alas, the exact opposite proved the case to many of us.”

He has a very good point, considering some of the victims on Saturday night had their throats slit this is something that would not – and probably did not – play well to a British audience. Some in NZ would no doubt take exception to being told this, and get stuck in about what it means and how the British are being culturally insensitive and whatever else the liberals like to say when the Maori culture is being criticised by the British, but I would say that the Blues were being insensitive to their visitors whose homeland had suffered two horrific terror attacks, one which involved peoples throats being cut. It isn’t always about what the reality is, but how it is seen and viewed.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2017/06/07/weeks-throat-slitting-gestures-haka-should-have-dropped-ill/


Yes, a very good point. The throat slitting gesture in a haka has been controversial in the past. It should have been obvious it could be seen in a poor light, especially after the London attacks.

It wasn’t all players that did the gesture but from the video at least one did:

BluesHakaThroat

Many people find the haka as confrontational and violent at the best of times.

Stuff had a very different take on the haka: Tears from Heaven as Blue haka recalls dearly departed

It was a warm welcome, a chilling challenge, a fond farewell; most of all it was lump-in-the-throat emotion.

It was the first Blues haka, the first haka the British and Irish Lions have faced from a Super Rugby side.

Led by Ihaia West, it was a welcome to 23 men in red, a farewell to two rugby greats who many times played in blue.

On the ground where thousands attended Jonah Lomu’s funeral in 2015, the Blues’ haka paid tribute to the memory of the winger who 20 years earlier reshaped rugby by running around and over several boot-clad unfortunates at the Rugby World Cup.

He Toa Takitini started in the circle the Blues had formed as homage was paid to British terrorism victims, with one minute’s silence.

It was first time the Lions had faced the traditional Maori war dance outside All Blacks tests and the New Zealand Maori.

“We realised we had something missing when we lost a couple of really important players from here – Kurtis Haiu and Jonah Lomu,” Blues high performance manager Tony Hanks said.

He Toa Takitini means “The Strength of Many” reflecting the many cultures in the Blues squad.

A significant part of rugby culture, especially in international games, should be considering your opponents and not making it all about yourself.

A tasteless gesture is poor form under any circumstance, and the throat slitting gesture was quite inappropriate.

Here is the haka performed by the Blues:

 

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62 Comments

  1. NOEL

     /  June 8, 2017

    Oh for god sake do we have to get this crap every time its used prior to a game that the opposition looses.
    Its got nothing to do with cutting throats and the ignorance is shown by those who call it a tribal dance. There is no Ngati Blues.

    Reply
    • It’s what it looks like to many and is how most of the world will see it.

      Reply
      • NOEL

         /  June 8, 2017

        Well the should do some bloddy research before they jump to conclusions.
        Last time it was a mouthy Aussie rugby commentator this time a Pom newspaper.

        Reply
        • Missy

           /  June 8, 2017

          Oh FFS, it isn’t just the bloody reporters, it is the nation that is in mourning that also sees it, and interprets it that way.

          And that is so bloody arrogant to assume everyone must ‘do some research’ to understand the Maori culture. It is attitudes like yours that make all NZers seem so arrogant when travelling, show some thought for the guests to our country, think about what they must be feeling this week.

          Reply
    • Missy

       /  June 8, 2017

      Oh for god sake do we have to get this ‘Its got nothing to do with cutting throats’ and ‘ignorance’ crap every time someone criticises the precious haha.

      Your complete lack of awareness of the insensitivity of the point being made is one of the reasons that NZ rugby fans are considered the most arrogant in the rugby world.

      Why not think for a moment or two instead of getting so defensive, and maybe learn some reading comprehension.

      This is nothing to do with the fact they lost, this is about how a gesture that resembles throat slitting is seen in a country with millions of people who don’t know, or understand, the Maori culture, a mere days after a terrorist attack where people had their throats slit.

      Forget your poor little hurt feelings about the haka being criticised, and your outrage that not everyone in the world is knowledgeable about meanings in the Maori culture and think about how it looked to the Lions, their fans in NZ, and the British people only a few days after the events of Saturday night. And think about how all the British people visiting NZ might be feeling at the moment knowing the horror that happened back in their home country.

      You are the ignorant one here, not to mention the one with now situational awareness or compassion.

      Reply
      • Missy

         /  June 8, 2017

        that should be haka in the first paragraph – auto correct!!

        Reply
        • NOEL

           /  June 8, 2017

          Your complete lack of understanding of the gesture in maoridom………

          Reply
          • Missy

             /  June 8, 2017

            Oh FFS it is nothing to do with that, it is about how it is perceived and interpreted and the inappropriateness of the timing so soon after people had their throats slit on Saturday night.

            But hey, let’s not care about how those being hosted in NZ might feel as long as no-one criticises our precious haka.

            Reply
            • NOEL

               /  June 8, 2017

              Your repeated use of “precious haka “illustrates to me you will never accept that the gesture has nothing to do with throat cutting and was never intended to offnd.

              Keep wasting oxygen .

            • Missy

               /  June 8, 2017

              No, that phrase is about how so many people in NZ view it as something precious, beyond reproach and criticism, and more important than anything else in the world, that the haka is something the whole world should bow down to, learn about, and understand at the expense of basic thoughtfulness, empathy and compassion.

              Your repeated focus on minor details and failure to address the substantive points made illustrates your lack of social awareness, lack of empathy, and inability to consider the feelings of anyone over yourself and what you think, least of all guests in your country.

            • Gezza

               /  June 8, 2017

              Slight tangent from the haka, but the booing of the crowds at goal kicking time is an ongoing source of extreme embarrassment to me during televised games with international teams. Nitwits may see it as a bit of fun, but they’re not looking at it through the eyes of people from the players’ lands overseas. Which itself says those who can’t see that are way too self-absorbed.

  2. NOEL

     /  June 8, 2017

    Whats the gesture mean?
    Goodbye

    Reply
    • Missy

       /  June 8, 2017

      Wrong question.

      Correct question: How does the gesture look to people from/in Britain after a terrorist attack where people had their throat slit?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  June 8, 2017

        they can change channels….are you for real? [Deleted]

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 8, 2017

        You look beautiful when you’re angry you know. 🌹😃

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 8, 2017

          Who’s jealous ? 😡

          (Suppose I should really read the post & the preceding comments instead of just clicking on Missy’s name & throwing another rose from an admirer thru the letterbox, to be fair.)

          Reply
        • Missy

           /  June 8, 2017

          awwww…. thanks G. Made my day. 🙂

          Now, I am off to get sorted and go and vote before work.

          Catch you later.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  June 8, 2017

            🌸🍁🌸🌻💐🌷🌺🌼🌸🌼🌹
            (Don’t tell anyone where they came from)

            Reply
      • duperez

         /  June 8, 2017

        I understand what you’re getting at.
        I also think of the logistics of some “media monitor”, in cahoots with a “cultural affairs” monitor, up until kick-off time, scouring everywhere they can to determine whether what is to be presented might offend someone.

        Reply
        • Missy

           /  June 8, 2017

          It isn’t about ‘offending someone’, but maybe being a little more sensitive to their opposition.

          Look, if London Bridge hadn’t happened & this article had been written I might have been of the same view as some here, however, it is seen as being a little insensitive and inappropriate days after a terror attack where people had their throats slit.

          It isn’t about ‘everyone’ just their guests, and those that they are playing.

          Reply
    • Missy

       /  June 8, 2017

      Still focussing on irrelevancies and not addressing the substantive point I see.

      Reply
      • NOEL

         /  June 8, 2017

        Didnt think you knew.

        Reply
        • Missy

           /  June 8, 2017

          Why are you childishly trying to score points on something that is irrelevant to the point being made?

          Is it because you truly cannot comprehend how it is viewed in a country that has suffered a horrific terrorist attack just days ago? Are you really that clueless? Or are you trying to be clever, when in reality you are just looking like a heartless twat displaying a high level of cultural arrogance with no awareness or thought to others.

          Reply
  3. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  June 8, 2017

    It’s an embarrassment and an outrage at any time.
    Perhaps the gesture does mean Hauhora – and represents an intake of breath – so what?
    The Haka is still a war dance… and who needs more bloody wars?

    Reply
  4. NOEL

     /  June 8, 2017

    It’s all about intent.
    Did the team intend to draw inspiration from the haka or was the intend to show no empathy for the UK at this time.
    As a member of 5 Eyes we have probably got people that are risking there lives and working long hours to help prevent another attack in your country.

    Reply
    • Missy

       /  June 8, 2017

      You are still missing the point, it isn’t about intent, it is about how it is viewed by those that are still processing the horrific events of Saturday night. You really are being obtuse about the point being made. Criticising the appropriateness of a gesture is not a bad thing, yet you seem to be incredibly resistant to any form of criticism of the haka.

      Reply
  5. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  June 8, 2017

    @duprez

    a transference of meaning.

    What is your understanding of a haka, then?

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  June 8, 2017

      In the 21st Century usage i guessing better than yours.

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  June 8, 2017

      My understanding is that there are different hakas. My understanding is that hakas mean different things at different times in different settings.
      My understanding is that some will think that every haka is a violent war dance.

      Before I saw the haka last night I had read the Herald article about it. I know something of one of the composers so was interested to see what it would be like. I’d read the words (the English translation):

      My strength is not my own

      But the strength of many

      We are the descendants 
of Tāmaki (Auckland) adored by the many
 carrying the aspirations of the people
      
Be determined

      Endure to the end
      
The four tides have gathered together

      To heed the call that the competitive spirit possesses

      Only one shall push through

      We feel the presence of those who have passed on as motivation

      We shall not break, we shall not fade in what we do

      We will hold fast to the goal
 and we will never let go
      (Composers – Whiria Meltzer and Ruka Makiha)

      I won’t critique the actual haka but will say the unity and fluency of such a group spoke to a lot of practice over a period and conviction to the words.
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11870675

      Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  June 8, 2017

    I’m with Missy. It may be a war dance, but the brutal mortal combat aspect of it is not taken to mean a genuine slaughter is intended, & it has been performed, when done properly & in a trained, co-ordinated manner, as a well-known & very impressive gesture of respect & honour to a worthy opponent or individual held in high regard by Maori.

    My recently dear deceased uncle, to our surprise, at his funeral, received an unexpected haka outside the church from a large group of Maori who had sat quietly at the back throughout the boringly formal Catholic requiem Mass. He had lived among & taught them or their fathers at some point in his career. It was awesome to see. Sent shivers down my spine. I felt so honoured for our family.

    But the throat slitting gesture should’ve been dispensed with this time. It obviously was never intended to upset our guests. Benefit of hindsight, eh? What’s the phrase?

    O would the Lord, the gift tae gie us, to see ourselves as others see us

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  June 8, 2017

      Methinks that the closeness of the dreadful London events was a factor in not changing that gesture.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 8, 2017

        Sometimes you’re a bit too cryptic, mon ami. In what way?

        Do you mean it perhaps could have signified a gesture back to the terrorists? If so, my thinking is it would not be likely to have been perceived as such when they were facing the opposing team. One hopes that by now people in the UK understand that it was a dreadfull misunderstanding. Our hearts bleed for them, as for all victims of Islamic terrorism, I would hope – and that we stand with them in condemning absolutely this horrific onslaught on innocent victims in Britain & everywhere.

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  June 8, 2017

          Timeline:
          Sunday New Zealand time the attacks on London Bridge happened.
          Wednesday the rugby game was on.

          Sometime between those events and information about the attacks becoming clear, rationalising it all and making a decision about the cutting gesture would have had to happen. It is likely the rugby people were actually thinking about the rugby. The team had obviously practised for ages. Given the timeframe and what people were thinking about there may have been no recognition of the at all of any connection.

          In the cold light of some other day removed eyes could make the connection say something should have been done.

          I think the Blues came up with a new haka, practised it and did it. Nothing to do with outside stuff came into it. Observers turned it into what they saw. As is their right.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  June 8, 2017

            Ah. Got it. God, that was like one of my more whimsical posts. You could’ve said all of that in one or two paragraphs. 😃

            Reply
      • Missy

         /  June 8, 2017

        Well it should have been. Especially considering we have been here before with that gesture and how it is perceived. Someone at the Rugby Union should have looked at it and thought, how will the British public perceive this gesture? Is it appropriate in light of the London Bridge attack?

        They have cultural advisers up the wazoo, maybe they should focus as much on the cultural differences with their opposition as they do on their own culture. It isn’t rocket science.

        Reply
  7. Brown

     /  June 8, 2017

    Who cares? Its pagan nonsense, bred out of violence and not to be taken seriously nowadays despite the gnashing of Maori teeth about who owns it. Its embarrassing as well when you get your arse kicked after frothing at the mouth and looking fierce. Wife loves it though and hates that I mock it.

    I would have thought that SBW would find it pagan and therefore banned by Islamic theology – although he could perhaps just play it safe and cut straight to the throat cutting bit.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 8, 2017

      First paragraph. Rubbish.
      Further comment unnecessary.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 8, 2017

        PS: Your wife sounds like a very good Christian woman to me. I reckon I’d like her.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 8, 2017

          I don’t really mean to be offensive, but you puzzle me Brown. You always seem to be so angry. You profess Christianity yet you seem so unfailingly uncharitable. I am assuming you must have a nicer side than I see or a good woman would not have married you.

          Reply
          • Mrs Brown

             /  June 8, 2017

            Thanks for the compliment Gezza. Mr Brown can be a “grumpy old man” but really does have a heart of gold. He perceives life to be short and taken seriously, which influences his view of the world. I do however, have to ban him from the rugby until after the Haka. 😉

            Reply
            • For me the haka is a signal to get myself organised and stocked up ready to settle in for the game.

            • Gezza

               /  June 8, 2017

              🌹🌹🌹 🌹🌹🌹

    • Gezza

       /  June 8, 2017

      If it’s any consolation for you Browny, I seem to be exceptionally unpopular today. 😕

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  June 8, 2017

        I’m a glass half full kind of guy most of the time but I have to say I get my daily jollies from Brown’s misanthropic view of the world. I also suspect he doesn’t give a rats what you think of him G. Don’t obsess about it though. Cheers,c

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 8, 2017

          (I don’t … you should know me by now … )

          And I wouldn’t mind you being a glass half full kind of guy so much c, if it wasn’t for the fact that’s my fucking glass you’ve got there!

          Reply
          • Conspiratoor

             /  June 8, 2017

            Very good G. By the way I thought you were very uncharitable to your celtic cousin a couple of nights ago

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  June 8, 2017

              Shaddup. (No offence.) You’re the only one. I probably should’ve just done what I usually do.

            • Gezza

               /  June 8, 2017

              Damnation! That should’ve said “You’re NOT the only one”. FiP. So button it, sweetie. Off to the crazy house to see dad & the other luvvies.

    • duperez

       /  June 8, 2017

      ‘Pagan: a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.’

      So only the beliefs of those of the main world religions are kosher (pun intended) and others are to be scorned? Which is why, say, the prayer at the begnning might be nonsense, but at least it is not ‘pagan nonsense’? 😊

      Reply
      • Brown

         /  June 8, 2017

        Good technical response and I accept your wise lesson but will deflect the matter by pleading, “You know what I meant”.

        Reply
  8. High Flying Duck

     /  June 8, 2017

    While i understand the comment from the English scribe, it is an impossible standard he is trying to set.
    From the Blues perspective it was not a throat slitting gesture at all, but, as in the AB’s Haka signified the “drawing of the breath of life”.
    The Haka was a tribute to the Lions, and a tribute to fallen players from the Blues.
    It’s all very well saying “see things from another’s perspective” but offense can be taken by different people over almost anything.
    In trying to avoid doing this and eradicating anything that may offend others, you end up having to sanitise actions to the extent you cannot do anything.
    Offense cannot be given – it can only be taken. And in this case you can only be offended by taking the haka that was delivered out of context.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 8, 2017

      Well, there’s something in that, I suppose, but I’d like to see the booing of goal kickers in international teams stopped. Why do they want to advertise overseas how many boorish rugby morons we have in our society?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 8, 2017

        Come to think of it, I’d be interested to know if we have any moron posters or readers who boo any overseas, or any opposing team, goal kickers? Downtick this comment or my one above if you do.

        Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  June 8, 2017

        Absolutely. Probably seems the height of good humoured fun to those who do it, but comes across as boorish and bad sportsmanship. It is a problem in many countries though – we are certainly not alone.
        Enjoyed the game last night though and seemed to be played in good spirit, a few handbags notwithstanding. The try to seal it was quite something and broke through a very good Lions defense.
        I think the tour will get better and better as they find combinations and spend time together.
        A shame this minor controversy (and kudos to the English reporter for not over egging it) has slightly overshadowed the game.

        Reply
    • Missy

       /  June 8, 2017

      The thing is the Rugby Union already knew how this gesture would be seen after they debuted the kapa o pango haha.

      I don’t think it was about offense being taken, but rather if the gesture was appropriate on that day so soon after London Bridge when the UK are still processing it, when they were still looking for the body of one of the dead.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  June 8, 2017

        The P.C brigade,usually militant,feminist..Nazis will always find something to be offended about…inappropriate is the new term du jour.10 years ago it was ‘stalking’.You were nobody unless you could claim…a stalker.

        Reply
  9. If the Lions had beaten the Blues with say 6 scintillating tries to none from an energised backline demonstrating the pace possession and guile of their yesteryears heroes we would have probably have a comment about the majestic warriors in their opening haka being unable to handle to quality of the Northern Hemisphere rugby style.
    But they didn’t and as has been the case in every defeat they have suffered an Englishman knowitall journalist dusts off the tired old complaint of yore and slags our tangata whenua’s customary welcome . Nothing’s changed since 1947.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 8, 2017

      They’ll have to go, Colonel ! 😡
      Who else have they got ? 😳

      Reply
    • Missy

       /  June 8, 2017

      BJ that is an unfair comment in the context of what was being said.

      And again shows NZ fans as being arrogant. Saying that the journalist thinking the throat slitting gesture was inappropriate days after the London Bridge attack because they lost is showing yourself as a bad winner and no concept of how it is perceived and how people in London & the UK might view it.

      I would have expected better from you than to pile in with the same ‘don’t criticise us’ attitude displayed by Noel.

      Reply
      • My real point is Missy, I have been around for a long time and seen Lions and English Welsh Scottish and Irish teams visit both in the UK and here in NZ. I have never seen a negative comment about the use of the Haka except following a defeat of the visiting team. I am not defensive, merely a New Zealander who is post Colonial in thinking. I am sorry you misinterpreted my earlier comments, I was not trying to take the mickey.

        Reply

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