Tall Blacks to only sing Māori national anthem ahead of Lebanon Test to fit in haka

Only the Māori rendition of the New Zealand national anthem will be sung before the All Blacks’ clash with Lebanon tonight in Rotorua, Basketball New Zealand has announced.

The decision was made to only sing E Ihowā Atua because of FIBA’s strict rules around time allocation for pre-match rituals.

The Tall Blacks were granted an extra minute but even with two minutes, they don’t have time to do both versions of the anthem and their haka, Tū Kaha O Pango Te Kahikatea.

“We understand where FIBA are coming from and the fact that we one more minute than any other team in the world is a privilege, not a right,” New Zealand Basketball chief executive Iain Potter said.

"Cutting Tū Kaha was not an option. We’re likely to alternate the English and Māori versions of the anthem at FIBA matches, and sing the full version when the rules allow." 

New Zealand players perform a haka.
New Zealand Tall Blacks v China.
FIBA World Cup Basketball Qualifier, Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday 1 July 2018 © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Cutting the haka was not an option, Basketball New Zealand said. Source: Photosport