Haka bar in France proves unpopular

  • 30/08/2015
The Haka Corner bar in France set up by former All Black Byron Kelleher (Facebook)
The Haka Corner bar in France set up by former All Black Byron Kelleher (Facebook)

Maori leaders are slamming a business venture in France by former All Black Byron Kelleher that uses Maori culture to attract punters to a pub.

Kelleher is preparing to open a sports bar in Toulouse called The Haka Corner, according to media reports and a Facebook page set up for the venture.

The bar will feature memorabilia from Kelleher's playing career and will televise live games during the Rugby World Cup. Its promotion material uses Maori motifs.

An online haka challenge for charity on the Facebook page includes a video of TV sports journalist France Pierron performing a haka.

Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell told NZ Newswire he had learned about the venture from a distance and did not know all the details but it raised issues of cultural integrity.

Using the Maori culture for business and personal gain was not appropriate, he said.

"People will utilise the cultural elements from time to time and Maori people in the past have generally not been happy about that, but it happens.

"The thing is how far he goes with that and when we start talking about women being in the bar and doing the haka - that's just utilising Maori cultural property for financial gain without maintaining the cultural integrity of the practice," he said.

The venture is getting a mixed response on its Facebook page.

One post said: "How disrespectful to the Maori culture trying to make profit of selling alcohol using the association of drinking and culture is a disgrace to you and your legacy. Get creative and find some other way to create income outside rugby. Very disappointed to see the lack of mana you have Byron. Karma will prevail."

Others wish him well with the venture.

A statement issued by Haka Corner to the Herald on Sunday said the sports bar was designed to let people discover a piece of New Zealand's rugby culture in France.

"French people are really respectful towards New Zealand roots, love haka and All Blacks spirit."

It said the haka challenge was not linked to the bar, but was to raise funds for hospitalised children.