Super Rugby Pacific: TJ Perenara stands with Hurricanes Poua over haka controversy

Hurricanes and All Blacks star TJ Perenara has come out in support of the Hurricanes Poua following the controversy over the Aupiki's side's haka, saying he shares similar views to the women's team.  

The Poua caused controversy when they opened their Super Rugby Apiki campaign against the Chiefs Manawa with an altered haka that called out: "karetao o te Kāwana kakiwhero" or "puppets of this redneck Government".  

After missing the start of the Hurricanes campaign due to injury, Perenara was asked about the Poua's haka after making his first start for the unbeaten Hurricanes against the Rebels.   

"I share similar views to our women and what was said," said the 80 test All Black.


"I back our women, I stand with our women. We use haka to express ourselves for whatever emotion we are feeling.  

"A lot of people who have spoken on haka only want to see one side of haka. They say 'I want this side but you can't do it for that reason', and that's not okay to me.  

At the time, Hurricanes management said the franchise did not condone the wording of the haka, with chief executive Avan Lee saying he was disappointed by the action and there was no consultation with him by the players.  

The Poua performed a different haka in their second match against Matatū following consultation with Hurricanes management, New Zealand Rugby Kaihautu (chief advisor Māori) Luke Crawford, and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association.   

However, the Hurricanes later had to clarify the meaning of the revised haka as it was originally misinterpreted by some as doubling down on their criticism of the Government.  

"For me, haka is something that us as Māori use to express ourselves, whether that's through celebration... or frustration," Perenara continued. "We use haka as a vehicle to express ourselves. What better way to express the way you feel than through haka, especially for our Māori people."  

Perenara scored his 59th Super Rugby try during the Hurricanes' 54-28 win over the Rebels in Palmerston North.   

He will become the Hurricanes' all-time leading appearance-maker the next time he takes the field, surpassing Julian Savea's 153 games.