Aaron Smith quashes long-held rumours about All Blacks' haka selection

Aaron Smith has laid to rest some of the speculation around the process the All Blacks go through for selecting which haka they'll perform prior to a Test match.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Aaron Smith said the team only found out about Read and TJ Perenara's shared role on game day. Source: 1 NEWS

During his lengthy interview with the Rugby Bricks podcast, Smith quashed a long-held belief held by fans about the value the All Blacks put on both Ka Mate and Kapa O Pango.

Some fans believe that Kapa O Pango - the All Blacks' own personalised haka - is reserved for more important matches or highly respected opponents, while others argue the traditional Ka Mate from Ngāti Toa is the team's proffered choice for big Tests.

Smith quashed both theories in a matter of moments, saying the process is actually ridiculously simple.

"It's not as built up as people think," Smith said on the podcast.

"Obviously, the haka is very special to the All Blacks but it's not our priority.

"The captain selects it, selects who to lead it. As we run out [to the Captain's Run] he'll say what haka we're gonna do: 'This week we're gonna do Kapa O Pango... or Ka Mate'.

"It's not in a meeting or anything. It's just said then. And TJ [Perenara] goes around and says where you're gonna stand."

Your playlist will load after this ad

Kieran Read and Richie Mo’unga emphatically denied Ewan MacKenna’s claim the haka is “cashing in on some else’s culture”. Source: 1 NEWS

However, Smith admitted there is usually one surefire way to know when Ka Mate will be selected.

"If new guys come in we practice it with them. So if we we're playing a first Test and it's some guy's first game we're not gonna do Kapa O Pango because we don't need him scared about playing and scared of doing the haka, because it can be quite overwhelming.

"New Zealanders have all done Ka Mate when they're drunk or as a kid… We've all done it at a party… We all know Ka Mate, but Kapa O Pango's a whole other kettle of fish."

The other rumour that some critics of the haka cling onto - that the All Blacks spend hours practising it weekly - also got dispelled by Smith.

"We do a lot of work at it early in the season and then we're like, 'Cool, we got this.' And you never forget it."

Smith added that after that the traditional challenge is practised once at captain's runs each week, but only the actions are practised as players can get too pumped up if they perform it at 100 per cent.