Episode 50: The Haka and Cultural Appropriation

The All Blacks perform two haka: the traditional Ka Mate dating back to the earliest All Blacks tours in the 1900s, and Kapa o Pango, first performed in 2005 and written especially for the All Blacks. It is Kapa o Pango that contains the violent motion Sheehan objects to: a throat-slitting motion at the end.

Both haka in fact have benign origins. Although haka are best known as war dances, they have many uses in Maori culture, including to welcome distinguished guests and to acknowledge significant occasions. Ka Mate has an extensive folk tradition in centuries of Maori culture, typically used as a peace-making song or a rallying cry.
— André Brett of The Conversation

In an increasingly global world, we are constantly exposed to new cultures, ideas and perspectives, many of which originate in remote spaces and times. As such, we often risk losing their original meanings and purposes. As peoples encounter new cultures, they often adopt and adapt foreign practices for different functions. This week, we welcome back Joe Walsh to discuss the phenomenon of cultural appropriation as it pertains to the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand and the All Blacks rugby team.

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