It’s the use of the Ngāti Toa Rangatira haka, ‘Ka Mate’ which has been etched in to the hearts of many Māori, however, many American universities have taken a shine to it also.
Footage of the University of Arizona Wildcats went viral on the internet in past weeks, showing their players using the Te Rauparaha composition as a means to prepare for their matches, a tradition the team took on in 2009, giving players of Polynesian heritage the chance to show their pride and culture.
In a statement exclusively obtained by Te Kāea, Jeremy Sharpe, from Arizona Athletics confirmed today that the University of Arizona has decided to discontinue the activity. “Neither the University, athletics department, football program nor our student-athletes intended to disrespect or offend anyone and we apologize to anyone that was.”
A stunning turn of events which may set a precedent worldwide after global media attention to the haka performed by the University of Arizona Wildcats, and the protests of its use.
Sharpe says, “we plan to identify alternatives that will provide an outlet for our Polynesian student-athletes to showcase the heritage they are so proud of.”
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