This past Saturday, the University of Arizona had the pleasure of hosting College GameDay and a nationally televised home game vs. UCLA. During the broadcast, Chris Fowler and crew highlighted the pre-game Haka that many of Arizona’s players perform.
With a strong lineage of Polynesian players, 5+ years ago, several Arizona players got together before their games to perform a ritual they were familiar with, and one made globally famous by New Zealand’s All Blacks, the Ka Mate haka. Now, I’m not going to profess to know the full history of the haka; but I do know that over the past few years, the number of Arizona players joining in the pre-game “ritual” has grown and Arizona fans have embraced their own form of the dance.
So, with a global, primetime audience comes a lot of scrutiny. A number of New Zealanders apparently reached out to Arizona officials to complain that Arizona’s version of the haka was not being performed correctly and some New Zealanders found that insulting. Dr. Christina Campbell, an associate professor at Cal State Northridge, who is from New Zealand but lives in California, even went so far as to start a petition to stop Arizona from performing this specific haka.
Earlier this week, Arizona officials relayed to the New Zealand Herald that Arizona would no longer be performing the ka mate haka before games saying, “Even though that intent [to show pride in their Polynesian heritage] remains the same today, we’ve been made aware that a segment of the population is unhappy that the haka is being performed. As a result, we have decided to discontinue the activity.”
In response to this news, Dr. Campbell told the Herald, “I hope that they are able to move forward and find a way that their Polynesian students can celebrate their culture more appropriately – maybe having a haka written for them…”
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I bring good news. Sources tell FootballScoop that Arizona is indeed working on their own haka. We don’t know when Wildcat fans will see the new war chant created specifically for Rich Rod’s guys; but we think the fan base will like it.
Quick response and smart solution. We believe this news will be well received by everyone, including the Kiwis. Everyone respects a unique war chant!