Haka becomes popular team-building exercise

  • 18/11/2014

When the All Blacks perform the haka at the Rugby World Cup in England this time next year, they may have some unexpected assistance.

It's becoming popular for British businesses to make their staff learn the haka as a team-building exercise.

In London today, it was used to kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week.

"Some businesses do yoga in the morning, this is just a bit more energetic and gets you up and gets the endorphins going," says Peter Bonham Christie, director of Straight Eight Logistics.

Kiwi lawyer Karl Burrows has been hosting haka workshops with companies like Vodafone UK, which had 1400 staff learn it. He says there's been a surge in interest with the Rugby World Cup approaching.

"Beyond just seeing the All Blacks perform it, they want to know what it means from a Maori perspective," says Mr Burrows.

"They're not going to be perfect but they love feeling the energy that they have of working in a group with a bunch of peers, a bunch of people who are their friends, their colleagues and sharing something."

Richard Hillgrove was born in Whanganui but now does public relation for celebrities like Britain's Dragon's Den stars.

It was his idea to use the haka to launch Global Entrepreneurship Week, but admits it has faced criticism from some who think it makes light of a sacred tradition.

"No one had any disrespect or did it flippantly," he says. "They're not doing it in a larrikin way, they're doing it with total authenticity.

"I think it's a wonderful thing, but there'll always be a controversial edge to doing something like this."

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source: newshub archive