What Rugby Can Teach America About Honoring Indigenous Culture


The ‘haka,’ a Maori war dance performed by the All Blacks at the beginning of games, is a meaningful, respectful nod to New Zealand’s history.


Why is this ritual so powerful and what function does it fulfill? What other rituals in sports can you think of? 


2 responses to “What Rugby Can Teach America About Honoring Indigenous Culture

  1. The ritual is powerful thanks to its long and ongoing history of practice. It has been a part of the Maori culture since 180o’s when it was created; it is now 2015 people, thats an incredible amount of time for a ritual to remain, especially in such a modernized world. I am aware that it has beeen in some ways revised but it is only logical since the world has obviously evolved in the past few hundred years. It is normal for culture and ritual to change with the times , as long as it’s root and meaning is the same.
    It was incredible to watch all of those boys perform the dance outside of their teachers funeral. Their numbers alone were insane but the power behind their voices and the united fron they presented to pay respect was beautiful. The point of things like this are to create a sense of unity, like in many other sports and pratices. In Americca we sing the National anthem often before our games, in theatre we do group exercises. It helps all those involved feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves, it is not just about them now its about everyone together. It helps set that mind frame and get the blood flowing, making these individuals feel more than we can imagine. I believe it’s all about harmony, for the players as well ass those watching, tradition is always powerful.


    • Great analysis. I like that you point out that we sing our national anthem before we begin our games. There is a heavy presence of religious symbolism in sports. Great idea for a paper 😉


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