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Hurricanes Poua haka statement

The Hurricanes would like to clarify the meaning behind the Poua haka performed before their match against Matatū on Saturday.

Hurricanes management, with support from New Zealand Rugby Kaihautu (Chief Advisor Māori) Luke Crawford, and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association, met with the Poua leadership group on Thursday to discuss the haka performed in round one and to ensure in moving forward that any words were respectful, authentic and appropriate.

Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee said:

“It’s been a challenging week. We did not approve of some of the words used in the Poua haka last week and made that clear. 

“Players and management worked hard to understand different perspectives and acknowledge various views and opinions.

“With the assistance of cultural advisors, the players amended their haka in a way the club was satisfied that it was respectful and true to the team.”

Poua Head Coach Ngatai Walker said:

“We understand there may be misinterpretation of individual words of this haka, but the intent of the meaning is, ‘Aotearoa unite, Hurutearangi (female god of the wind) has arrived; challenges may come and go, but we will endure’.

“I am really proud of the performance the players put on the field. They played with mana for their families, their community, and the club.”

Hurricanes Poua Captain Jackie Patea-Fereti said:

“It’s been a challenging week, but we have stayed true to our beliefs as individuals and a team. In collaboration with the club, we were proud to perform a revised haka against Matatū.”

NZR Kaihautu (Chief Advisor Māori) Luke Crawford said it was important to correctly interpret haka. 

“The team have chosen to take a very Māori approach to the rewrite of the haka and therefore individual words inside the haka are merely representative of a far deeper body of Māori knowledge, language and thinking which are not easily deciphered without the assistance of Pukenga Māori (Experts).   

“The Poua haka seeks to urge the nation in behind the team, refocus themselves back to their game and to acknowledge the key things that motivate and turn on their super powers.

“The haka reference to the Government is in fact part of refocusing away from politics and turning to those things that power, connect, unify, and motivate the team.  

“Other than the first line which speaks to Aotearoa, the rest of the haka is an inward facing conversation for the team. 

“Translating a single line of the haka in the way that weaponises it against the team, is frankly irresponsible especially when there are a number of other ways to translate that same line.

“The Hurricanes have come a long way and we have a long way to go, but we have just seen the result of what can happen when we allow a team to be their authentic selves and work well with everyone in the waka.”


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