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How to deal with the New Zealand Haka

“The ideal French response might have involved close-formation shrugging, smoking in a pointed manner, farting in the Kiwis’ general direction or perhaps setting fire to a sheep and laying it on the 10-metre line, but the ridiculous namby-pambyisation of modern rugby forbids such incendiary techniques.”

Alan Tyers, writing about the recent match between France and New Zealand.

I don’t see why the French should not be able to treat the Haka with contempt. If a bunch of guys with tattoos did a war dance in front of me, sticking their tongues out and generally carrying on, the correct response, surely, is a look of utter contempt, married with a suitably powerful array of rude gestures, farting, belching and, in extremis, a fully automatic weapon with the safety catch taken off. Just imagine if the French rugby captain said: “Now try this for size, you noisy fuckers!”.

Sport, how we love it.

20 comments to How to deal with the New Zealand Haka

  • Antoine Clarke

    The haka should simply be performed before the national anthems because it effectively means one side is warming up while the other is supposed to stand still.

    Or the opposition should adopt the Maori salute of defiance: pull down their shorts and wave their buttocks at the ABs.

  • Current

    There have been many great suggestions for alternatives, but sadly none have been implemented:


  • Patrick Harris

    Or, the best solution, try to beat them at rugby.
    You gotta admit they play a prtty good game.

  • Apparently the French got fined ten thousand quid (or ten thousand somethings) for their response to the Haka, which consisted of standing in a formation, with no farting or smoking or shrugging whatsoever. Every rugby fan on earth, including all in NZ, considers this decision absurd.

  • Bruce Hoult

    There is a move here in NZ to have a sausage sizzle etc to raise money to pay the fine for the French, as was done earlier for the Samoan player fined for a non-regulation mouthguard.

    Not that the French need the help as much as Samoa did, or at all.

  • Frank S

    What an ill-natured piece! The Haka is a fine piece of folklore and provides a dramatic start to a game of rugby. The fining of the French is absurd, and that is where your ire should be directed, although hopefully with a less vulgar tone.

  • Dale Amon

    Wasn’t the waving of buttocks also a Scottish warrior thing? Kilts certainly made it easy…

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Frank S, grow a pair. I was vulgar because let’s be blunt, watching these ABs doing a war dance is to watch a warlike, ie, vulgar, display of aggression.

    Even so, it does rather amuse me that a bunch of burly rugby players put on a war dance, and the other side are expected to stand there respectfully, rather, as in a real war, do something a bit more interesting.

    The trouble of course is the the Haka, like many of these supposedly sacred customs, has become the object of liberal, Western condescension. If, for imagination’s sake, the English or, say, French rugby teams were to stage some sort of bombastic, warlike little routine before the kickoff, we’d never hear the end of it.

  • RAB

    Yes moi again. Do you know when and why the playing of national Anthems at International sporting events started?

    It was when the AB’s first met the Welsh at the Arms Park back in the late 19th century.

    The AB’s came out and did the Haka and the Welsh crowd, quite rightly, thought they were taking the piss. So the whole crowd started singing Land Of My Fathers to drown the little buggers out, and the idea stuck. We hammered them by the way! 🙂

  • Gandalf

    The English should do the Morris Dance in response to the Haka

  • According to the WP (and Rab), the pre-match haka is much older than most people realize. It also lists some not so respectful reactions to it, including some aggressive ones.

  • SkippyTony

    Ha ha ha, being an aussie, I can take the haka or leave it, but the sight of a group of frenchmen holding hands and dressed in traditional surrender monkey white had us spitting our fosters across the room.

    They played well, mind you. The best team won the tournament, but the best team didn’t win on the night, in my humble…

  • Sean

    I’m a Kiwi and think we’ve gone overboard with the Haka (used to be reserved for games on foreign turf). The one used against the French is a recent addition to the repetoir and the neck curring finale is a little too much for my taste. If I were coaching the opposition, and we had time to waste on dancing lessons, I’d have my guys perform a musket loading, aiming, and firing drill opposite them. I’m pretty sure that’s put them off their game – it certainly did the trick back in the day…

  • I wrote a similar article last year when the Australian women’s rugby team were fined for being disrespectful. My argument was that pretending to be respectful isn’t the same as actually being respectful.

  • Vinegar Joe

    Just wait till the Germans start dancing!


  • ErrolC

    The French got fined, not for their response per se, but because they crossed the halfway line during it. Having a dividing line seems sensible, and the French crossed it.

    And musket drill wouldn’t put Maori off their game. They had the ‘Musket Wars’ 20 years before Europeans seriously attempted settlement. It was artillery and the backing of a global economy that made the difference.

  • ADE

    Oh come on, Puritans, it’s theatre.


  • Rob

    Zzz, the Haka.

    Best response is to listlessy kick a ball around in your own 22, 40 yards away from it. Though that’s probably illegal too.

    Alternatively, to ensure they gain no advantage from their war dance immediately prior to kick off, delay and piss about for 2-3 minutes.

  • Dave Walker

    The Haka was originally intended (among other things) to instil fear in one’s opponents, and this is (along with invoking ancestral strength etc) what it’s still about, as well as providing a striking display of NZ native culture.

    Therefore, to demonstrate traditional unrufflability in the face of such a spectacle, the England squad could take tea.

    I suggest that tea be served by a uniformed household staff while the ABs psyche themselves up, our boys could sip some refreshing Darjeeling from bone china cups in silence while standing and respectfully watching the Haka, and then cups and saucers could be collected from the players by the staff who would then depart the field before kick-off.