The All Blacks have emphatically denied that the haka is a marketing tool after an Irish writer said the pre-match challenge cashed “in on someone else's culture”.
Speaking to media today New Zealand captain Kieran Read said Ewan MacKenna's comments were “as far as from the truth as you can get really” while first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga said the haka was sacred.
“It’s not about the opposition or anything, it’s about us as All Blacks, the tradition that’s held for us over 100 years,” Read said.
“For us it’s about connecting to the people who have gone before us and the people and the land that we’re in at that moment.
“It’s a tradition that we’ll keep enjoying and do,” a smiling Read added.
Mo’unga said the comments were a case of each to their own but the All Blacks would continue to do the haka as part of their pre-match.
“The haka is very sacred for us, it energises us, it’s not something that the All Blacks have come up, it’s something that our ancestors have come up with before us,” Mo’unga said.
“Us as Kiwis and Māori in our team, it’s very special, we’ll continue to do the haka and people can take different things from it.”
“For us, it connects us as a team and respects those that have gone before us.”