The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

Inappropriate response

When Australia played New Zealand a couple of weeks ago at rugby, before the kickoff there was the singing of the national anthems and then the All Blacks performed the haka. And then some singer or other led the crowd in a few rounds of Waltzing Matilda. And right there I was annoyed.

I don’t have any objection to the song, nor to people singing it at a rugby match. What I object to is the category error of having this singing be an official (time was specifically set aside for it) part of the pre-match ritual. The rationale, I am assuming, is that the All Blacks get to do a haka, so the Australians should get to do something too. And that would be entirely reasonable, and in fact occurs when, for example, New Zealand play Samoa. But this was not the Australian team responding to the New Zealand team — indeed, the Australian team just stood around waiting for everything to get underway.

My point is that the haka is performed by the team, and any response should be delivered by the other team. If they don’t have any ritual to perform themselves, they should just not make a response. Leave the crowd to do whatever the crowd does, but don’t privilege it by giving it the place and role of the haka.

Posted by jamie on July 12, 2007 18:24+12:00