By Maxwell Levine
In a twist of events, New Zealand Rugby have instructed Walter Sisulu University, who call themselves “All Blacks”, to stop using their rendition of the Maori war chant, the haka.
WSU were accused on social media of ‘cultural appropriation’ after performing a mix of ‘Ka Mate’ and ‘Kapa o Pango’ before their first match of the Varsity Cup against DUT at Loftus Versfeld.
The use of the haka outside of New Zealand is controversial and can be considered culturally insensitive or offensive.
It raised eyebrows on Sunday May 2 with the noticeable absence of their haka rendition before their match against Rhodes at Tuks Stadium, which they went on to win 63-10.
The official Varsity Cup website confirmed with an article quoting WSU captain Litha Nkula saying WSU had received a letter from New Zealand Rugby asking them to stop performing the haka.
“New Zealand Rugby asked us not to do the haka for now,” the fullback told VarsityCup.co.za.
“They said they can maybe help us to do it in a way or form because ‘Kapa O Pango’ has deep and meaningful roots in New Zealand.”
Nkula said WSU, who entered the Varsity Shield in 2017, had admired the All Blacks since they won the 2015 World Cup by playing an attractive brand of rugby.