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15th Nov 2021

Māori tribe tells anti-vaxxers to stop using the haka in their protests

Danny Jones

Maori tribe asks anti-vaxxers to stop using the haka

The tribe has condemned its use in the controversial protests

The Māori tribe that holds the rights to the ‘Ka Mate’ haka, the most famous form of the iconic ceremonial dance, has urged anti-vaccine protestors to stop using it in their demonstrations.

Ngāti Toa, who has legal guardianship of the haka popularised globally through its use by the All Blacks rugby team, said it “condemns the use of the Ka Mate haka to push and promote anti-Covid-19-vaccination messages”, AFP reported

The high-profile protests were held outside New Zealand‘s parliament buildings in the capital of Wellington last week. More than 2,000 people were estimated to have attended.

Ngāti Toa has requested that “anti-vaccination and anti-mandate protesters cease the use of Ka Mate at their protests immediately” – an added concern being that vaccination rates among the Maori community are still below desirable figures.

Just 61 per cent of eligible Māoris are fully vaccinated while 77 per cent have had their first dose. New Zealand’s target rate is at least 90 per cent among the eligible population.

The tribe went on to say: “Many of our tupuna [ancestors] lost their lives in previous pandemics… we are absolutely clear that the Covid-19 vaccine is the best protection we have available to us, and we are committed to supporting our whānau (family) to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

In contrast, there is fear that Māori sovereignty movements are being co-opted by anti-vaxxers, with many arguing that the state pressure to get vaccinated represents a form of “modern-day colonisation”.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has played down the protests, suggesting that what was seen is “not representative of the vast bulk of New Zealanders”.

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