Bread. October 2007
Black and blue
There is always something homoerotic about rugby, and the latest manifestation of it is this Youtube video showing the New Zealand All Blacks before their recent match against the French team, performing an awesome haka.
Gay blogs have been wondering what the Maori words mean. Surely it must mean something like
Or does it? A partial, misleading, translation of the words has been going around, claiming that the chant translates to
All that aggression, and it means "Let the hip follow"? Are they confusing it with a hula hula dance? How wimpy can one get?
What a letdown. It's like slowly undressing a bulldozer of a marine, full of anticipation, only to find he has a tiny cock.
Fortunately, a more accurate translation is available from the All Blacks' website http://www.nzallblacks.net/haka.asp. It explains that the team leader first exhorts his men to perform the haka correctly and with enthusiasm. That's when he says, in staccato style,
And then the group performs the haka proper:
That's more like it, boys. Yet, even this translation may have been tweaked to suggest battle courage, when the words don't actually say that. From the site http://www.haka.co.nz/haka.php, I see that what it originally meant was (note the twist in the second stanza):
What's the story behind this? Apparently, this haka dates from around 1820. Te Rauparaha, a Maori chief, was fleeing from his enemies when he sought refuge from another chief, Te Wharerangi. The latter, who was reputed to be unusually hairy, allowed Te Rauparaha to hide inside a pit normally used to store sweet potatoes. Te Wharerangi's wife then sat over the entrance of the pit. Although it was demeaning for a man to cower under the genitals of a woman, it was a matter of life and death for Te Rauparaha.
Not long after, his enemies came looking for him, and for a while it was touch and go whether they believed Te Wharerangi's denials that the wanted chief was around. Eventually, they took him at his word and left, after which Te Rauparaha emerged warily up the earthen steps from the pit, into the sunlight.
His haka thus recalled his experience hiding in the dark, one moment fearing that he's facing death, the next, hoping that he'll live. Finally, when the enemy's gone, he climbs the "upward steps" and gives thanks to the hairy fella who saved him.
And somehow, they've made that tale of hiding from one's enemies into a battle cry for the national rugby team.
But what does it matter when they look so sexy? The muscles, the grunts.... ahhhh!
* * * * *
However, they're better known for the nude calendar they've produced every year since 2001, titled "Dieux du Stade" – Gods of the Stadium.
© Yawning Bread
Here is the poster picture referred to by the first posting in the Comments section: