Super Rugby Aupiki: Government still fuming over Hurricanes Poua scoring 'political points' with haka protest

The Coalition Government has doubled down on its criticism of Hurricanes Poua, describing their altered haka as disappointing and they should stop trying to score political points.

The Hurricanes will meet with its women's team for a 'please explain' as part of the franchise's review into their haka, which was was altered to include words translating as "puppets of this redneck government".

In what was meant to be a challenge to Chiefs Manawa before their Super Rugby Aupiki opener, it's instead caused a political firestorm.

NZ First MP Shane Jones and Hurricane Poua performing their haka.
NZ First MP Shane Jones and Hurricane Poua performing their haka. Photo credit: Getty Images

Hurricanes Poua altering the start of their haka has not gone down well.

"I was disappointed that our young women did politicise that haka," said New Zealand First MP Shane Jones. "There's a time and place, and they should focus on tackling and winning the game, not trying to score political points." 

Auckland University's Paora Sharples says protest has always been a part of haka and he says there's no one rule for how it should be used.

"You can't draw a line and say yes in this situation, but not in this situation," Sharples told Newshub. "Our whole country has evolved around protest, right back to the Springboks in 1981, where haka was rapant."

Haka has long been an integral part of our sporting codes, most notably the All Blacks performing one before every match, and it has become synonymous with some of our biggest sporting achievements.

Jones feels that absolutely needs to continue and any fallout from Hurricanes Poua shouldn't tarnish haka's place in sport.

"Haka is an important part of sport and I just think a couple of young people got a bit carried away, and they need to focus on catching the ball and dotting it behind the try-line," he said.

Athletes have used their platforms to push social issues before. In 2019, All Black TJ Perenara wrote 'Ihumātao' on his wrist to support for the protest over the planned housing development there.

Jones says, when it comes to haka, rugby is not the place for political messages.

"There are haka that are politically kapa haka, but playing rugby is not kapa haka," Jones said. "Playing rugby is about scoring points on the field, not political points."

Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee has echoed that sentiment.

"We, as an organisation, created and developed a haka that is representative of us and our community, and this haka wasn't that," he said.

Lee will reinforce that very point to the players, when they reassemble at Wellington, where their opening round loss is sure to be well down the list of things in need of addressing.