NZ Davis Cup Team open to having their own haka

By Eru Paranihi

New Zealand tennis international Michael Venus is open to the idea of introducing a Haka to the Davis Cup side. It is an idea that also has the backing of Aotearoa Māori Tennis.

For Venus, who has links to both Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Porou through his half-siblings, it would be an honour to have the Davis Cup team doing one.

Venus says, “Yeah I think that would be pretty cool if we could do that. I think we would need a fair bit of practice, so I think that would be the one thing we definitively will need someone to guide us through a fair bit of that.”

One obstacle the New Zealand team would need to overcome is the availability of players to learn and to practice. Many of them are based overseas.

Aotearoa Māori Tennis chairman Dick Garratt says, “Davis Cup has been tough. We have tried it once before. We have to sort of do it on the night before their tie while they're preparing. Because most of these players, professional tennis players, they're playing around the world.”

It has been five years since a haka was performed for a Davis Cup tie. The occasion left an impression on Venus who once competed in the Aotearoa Māori Tennis tournament, winning both the Under-12s and under-14s grades.

“It was a cool experience and something that potentially hopefully we could try implement each time,” says Venus.

The South Korean team were also curious by the welcoming they received. Team member Jea Moon Lee was impressed with the traditional welcoming performed by Te Wharekura o Māngere.

It was a traditional way of welcoming. It was very surprising and very interesting as well. I was very impressed with the traditional way of welcoming Korea,” says Lee.

When the day comes that the New Zealand Davis Cup team has a haka, the efforts from Aotearoa Māori tennis will be realised.