All Blacks centurion Mils Muliaina believes the haka still has a place as part of test match rugby.
Several former All Blacks have slammed the overuse of the pre-match ritual in a new book, saying it should be performed less.
The book, entitled The Jersey and written by British journalist Peter Bills, has quotes from ex-players, raising questions over the use of the indigenous dance.
They claim it has become more about commercial exploitation than tradition.
Speaking to RadioLIVE, Muliaina said the haka and All Black rugby go hand-in-hand.
"It is something spectators look forward to and, bar a few people up north, it is something crowds enjoy before a test match," Muliaina told Sunday Sport.
The 38-year-old performed the haka 100 times in a nine-year test match career with the national side.
Questions have been raised by critics that the challenge gives the All Blacks an unfair advantage, but Muliaina believes that notion is an excuse when looking at why New Zealand dominated the international game.
"Every time the All Blacks go offshore, that's the one thing the rest of the world knows about the All Blacks," Muliaina told Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes.
"There is a lot of talk about how it gives the All Blacks that extra bit of motivation, hype and advantage - so I can understand how on the other side of the world they are getting a little bit sick of it, but it definitely has its place because of its history.
"It's something that was done way back in the early days of New Zealand rugby, and been carried on and evolved.
"I guess the detractors believe it inspires All Black players, giving them an advantage, and by calling it to be taken away they are, in effect, taking away that weapon."
Muliaina doesn't believe the players would suffer if the haka was performed less, but noted that when he was involved in the environment, the players were educated on the history of what it means to perform the ritual.
"We learnt a lot about the haka - and what it means to us as Kiwis and rugby players - during my time with the All Blacks," he explained.
"It didn't matter where you were from, that's the one thing that brought us all together, given we are such a diverse country."