Mako Vunipola ‘Great way to accept the challenge’: Māori researcher backs English response to All Blacks haka

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He might not be happy about the scoreline but a Māori researcher has applauded the English response to the All Blacks’ haka.

Prior to England’s 19-7 Rugby World Cup semifinal win over the All Blacks on Saturday night the team already made headlines for their radical response to haka.

England lined up in front of the traditional challenge in V formation and had to be told to retreat by officials when they moved too close to the All Blacks.

And it has since been revealed England could be fined due to breaching a “cultural ritual protocol”, whereby opponents are not to cross the halfway line.

Massey University physical education lecturer Jeremy Hapeta (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Huia and Ngāti Pareraukawa), who has carried out research into haka use in sport, said while it could have broken rugby laws, the English response was not disrespectful to Māori.

“For whatever reason, they keep them far apart these days, but certainly from a Māori perspective I don’t think many across the motu will be offended.

“Haka are about laying down a challenge, and they require some sort of response. I think this was a great way for the English to accept the challenge, it showed they did not want

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