New Zealand’s haka is in danger of losing its impact because it’s being performed too often at the Rugby World Cup, warns South Africa coach Peter de Villiers.
The eye-rolling, chest slapping Maori challenge has been performed by the All Blacks before Test matches since 1905, becoming an integral part of the international rugby landscape.
But during the tournament, groups using social media such as Facebook to organise themselves have performed so-called ‘flash haka’ displays in parks, shopping centres and streets across New Zealand.
International rugby teams in the country for the World Cup have also been greeted by numerous haka’s at official functions and school visits.
De Villiers said New Zealanders risked over-exposing the haka as they host this year’s tournament, diminishing its significance.
‘For me, about the World Cup especially, there is too many haka around,’ he said. ‘It is unique, to me, and is losing its intensity, but that is only me.
‘People are becoming so used to it. It is not a novelty any more and they don’t respect it.’
One of the flash haka performances, at an Auckland shopping mall earlier this month, has attracted more than a million hits on file-sharing site YouTube.
Maori rugby historian Malcolm Mulholland said it was a wonderful way to displayNew Zealand’s indigenous culture to the world.
‘They are organised by Maori, exhibit Maori culture, are being done in a modern way and get crowds to stop what they’re doing and appreciate an aspect of Maori culture,’ he said.
However, there were signs of haka-fatigue elsewhere, with online commentator ‘John’ backing de Villiers’ stance in remarks posted onNew Zealand’s 3News website.
‘It’s an interesting little dance but, man, it’s total overkill,’ he wrote.
‘You can’t cross the road without someone doing a haka. It’s just getting to be a bit of a yawn.’
Buford Balony says: It’s the 1st time I’ve ever agreed with that fool DeVilliers. Also have to agree with what ‘John’ says because I’ve be saying the same for years. Kiwis will start crying over this but who cares,it’s true.