Former National Party leader Don Brash has come under fire for claiming the haka glorifies domestic violence, his comments on radio coming at the start of Māori Language Week.
Dr Brash prefaced his comments in a phone interview on RadioLIVE's Weekend Life show yesterday by saying what he was about to say was "almost blasphemous"
"I'm going to say something which is almost blasphemous in New Zealand - I'm not sure that the haka is a good representation of who we are, and if it is, it worries me," Dr Brash said.
"It is basically a war dance, and violence - particularly domestic violence - is one of our major headaches in New Zealand. The haka to me seems to glorify it and that often worries me," he said.
FIRST Union general secretary Robert Reid, who was also appearing on the show, in the studio, interrupted him.
"Oh, come on. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it right there. Don't giggle about it either. To say the haka glorifies domestic violence, to use the parliamentary term, please withdraw and apologise," Mr Reid said.
But Dr Brash was not apologising.
"No no I think the haka is a war dance. It implies we're going to slaughter our opponents on the rugby field. We often draw our finger across our throat to emphases the point. I think it's overdone," he said.
A listener, Sonya, texted RadioLIVE, saying she was "disgusted" with Dr Brash's comments.
"Our Māori culture contributes to tourism, and don't forget that haka makes New Zealanders feel true, proud and strong," she wrote.