Hayley Holt has taken aim at the haka, suggesting our international sports teams stop performing the traditional ceremonial challenge before games.
The TVNZ Breakfast presenter voiced her opinion after the Tall Blacks performance of the haka was ignored by their opponents Montenegro at the Basketball World Cup.
Holt reckoned the haka should go, saying, "Why do it? Nobody was really taking much notice."
"Should every single New Zealand team perform a haka?" she wondered. "Or is it overplayed and therefore being devalued?"
Fellow presenter, and renowned sports fan, John Campbell, however, was not having a bar of it.
"The question makes me cross," he said. "I'm not cross with you, a little bit cross, but it's not performed by every single team is it? It's just performed by the teams that want to perform it."
Photo / TVNZ
Holt tried to backtrack, claiming that she "loved the haka," before adding the qualifier, "when it's beautiful and done seriously."
"The All Blacks take it so seriously, they learn the meaning behind all of the words and they spend a lot of time training on a haka, which is amazing, but sometimes it can seem... why?"
"I sometimes think it's done too much," she concluded.
Weatherman Matty MacLean breezed into the conversation saying, "I sometimes wonder if its turned into a rugby thing as opposed to a cultural thing."
"True," nodded, Holt.
Breakfast's new newsreader, and former Silver Fern, Jenny May-Clarkson kept largely to herself during the debate before Campbell asked her if the New Zealand netball team performed a haka.
"No, we didn't," she replied, saying that the team instead performed waiata. She did note that the Black Ferns, the New Zealand womens rugby team, do perform it.
"They do a banger," Campbell enthused.
"They know the words, etc," she continued before saying to Holt, "We're making the assumption that the Tall Blacks don't actually know what they're doing and I know that they put a lot of time into it as well."
"For me, it's not about those of us at home watching it who believe that it's being overdone," she said. "It's about that team and what they believe is the whole purpose of why they're doing it. It's the challenge, they're laying down the challenge."
"The fact that Montenegro decided that they weren't going to acknowledge it, well, that's their right."
Perhaps in the future Montenegro will pay the team and the haka a lot more respect as the Tall Blacks went on to win the crucial pool game 93-83.
This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.