24 Nov 2008

'English media can get lost' over haka criticism - Sharples

3:33 pm on 24 November 2008

The new Minister of Maori Affairs is less than impressed by a call from a journalist in the United Kingdom for the haka to be axed.

Guardian writer Frank Keating said New Zealand's "charmless eye-rolling, tongue squirming dance" has long passed its sell-by date.

He wants it dumped after the rugby test between the All Blacks and England this weekend.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said the English media can "get lost".

"That's our country's ritual, its based in tradition going way back a thousand years, and if they don't like it, fine.

"Its our choice whether its out of date."

Former Australian rugby international Peter Fitzsimons, now a rugby writer, said the haka has earned its place in sports.

"Somebody sent me a YouTube version of what happened with the haka between the All Blacks and Munster last week, when there were four New Zealanders who were part of the Munster team, and it had raised the hairs on the back of your neck.

"It is a fantastic bit of sporting theatre, it is a wonderful bit of sporting history, long may it prosper."