All Blacks' haka has 'lost its mana', NZ legends claim

A number of past All Blacks have come out strongly in opposition to the continued commercial exploitation of the haka, calling for the pre-match ritual to be performed less.

Having been performed by the All Blacks for nearly the entirety of New Zealand's existence as a rugby superpower, criticism has always followed the haka, with many - usually overseas based - commentators claiming it as an unfair advantage.

In a new book from British journalist Peter Bills titled 'The Jersey', several All Blacks legends raised their own questions as to the haka's ongoing existence, and in some cases exploitation.

"It has lost its mana. It has become a showpiece. They should do it at certain test matches but not all," said former prop Kees Meeuws.

"It was good a few years ago when they had a choice. But now they play 14 test matches a year and that's too much as far as the haka is concerned. We should either have it at home or just away from home, like it used to be. Not both."

Meanwhile, Andrew Mehrtens labelled it as "too commercialised."

The late Sir Colin Meads, arguably the greatest ever All Black, slammed the overuse of the haka, saying it diluted the traditional Maori importance as a war dance.

"They haka everything now. Some dignitary or sports person turns up or a film star at the airport and they haka them. It is ridiculous. I think it has become a celebrity thing. All the schools practise it.

"It should be done before games but as a form of respect to the Maori. We were haka‑ed out there for a while and still are."

Peter Bills' 'The Journey' will be released on August 14.

The All Blacks perform the Haka.
New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa. Test match rugby union. The Rugby Championship. Christchurch, New Zealand. Saturday 17 September 2016. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga /
The All Blacks perform the haka against the Springboks. Source: Photosport

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