24 Dec 2008

Snub rugby, Tamihere tells Maori

6:11 am on 24 December 2008

All Maori should snub rugby and take up rugby league, says an angry John Tamihere.

Mr Tamihere, a former chair of the New Zealand Maori rugby league, told Waatea News that the rugby union's move to deny the New Zealand Maori team any games next year - a decision made on economic grounds - amounts to institutionalised racism. He says Maori must pressure the union to do a U-turn.

The former cabinet minister and Labour MP, now executive chairman of the National Urban Maori Authority, points out that the NZRU still uses the haka.

His comments have been echoed by sports commentator Ken Laban, who says a golden opportunity to enhance the Maori brand of rugby has been lost.

The Wainuiomata-based broadcaster told Waatea News that a more suitable arrangement could have been brokered if the national body been more open to ideas. He says Maori rugby deserves better.