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New Zealand All Blacks to continue with haka war dance

New Zealand All Blacks performing the Hakka
The All Blacks will be able to perform the haka at this year's Rugby World Cup

New Zealand have sealed an agreement with a Maori tribe to ensure the team can continue to perform the haka.

The All Blacks have been performing the traditional war dance before matches since 1905.

The Ngati Toa tribe were granted property rights to it in 2009 and had threatened to trademark parts of the dance ahead of the World Cup.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief Steve Tew said: "It has a very special place in the team's history and culture."

The eye-rolling, foot-stomping ritual, entitled "Ka Mate", was composed by a leader of the Ngati Toa tribe, which was granted intellectual property rights to it in 2009.

Wales face down All Blacks' haka

The North Island-based tribes' threats had raised the prospect of a legal battle ahead of the tournament in New Zealand later this year.

But the New Zealand Rugby Union said it had reached an agreement with the Ngati Toa that would allow the All Blacks to maintain the tradition.

Ngati Toa representative Riki Wineera said the NZRU had assured the tribe, or iwi, that the haka would be used respectfully.

"One of the iwi's long standing concern is that Ka Mate has been used in a belittling and culturally offensive way," he said.

"Fortunately the NZRU respects this position and has agreed to work with us to ensure that the integrity of Ka Mate is protected."

Wineera said Ngati Toa would not try to restrict other New Zealand sporting teams from performing the haka, provided they also treated it with due respect.

Details of the agreement remain confidential, although the NZRU has in the past expressed reluctance to pay for the right to perform the ritual, saying reducing it to a commercial commodity would demean it.

The haka is traditionally only performed by men and the Spice Girls attracted criticism in 1997 when they did an impromptu version during a concert in Bali.

A New Zealand bakery chain also came under fire for a 2007 commercial featuring animated gingerbread men with squeaky voices doing the haka.



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see also
Haka performed in BBC studio
11 Feb 09 |  Special Reports
What is the haka?
10 Jun 05 |  Photo Galleries
How to respond to the haka
10 Jun 05 |  Internationals
Wales face down All Blacks' haka
24 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union


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