May 19, 2024

Spain Captain Apologizes For ‘Disrespectful’ Haka Video

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Spain captain Ivana Andres has apologized to New Zealand’s Maori people for a video showing four members of her country Women’s World Cup squad joking about the traditional haka that was shared a week ago on social media.

The video was posted shortly after the team’s arrival in New Zealand but was removed after experts in Maori culture and protocol criticized it as disrespectful.

Andres read a statement of apology on Monday to elders and members of the local Rangitane O Manawatu iwi (tribe) at a powhiri (blessing) ceremony in the North Island city of Palmerston North, where the Spanish squad is based.

She also presented a Spanish playing shirt with the word Papaioea, the Maori name for Palmerston North, to tribal elders.

Spain captain Ivana Andres, pictured, apologized to the Maori people of New Zealand for a video showing four members of her country’s Women’s World Cup squad mocking the traditional haka that was shared a week ago on social media.

The Real Madrid centre-back spoke in Spanish during the almost hour-long welcome ceremony. Her words were translated into English.

“We’ve only been in Aotearoa New Zealand for a few days and we have so much to learn about your culture,” Andres said. “So, thank you very much for the kindness of devoting a few moments of your wisdom, especially in such an important moment as Matariki.”

Matariki is the Maori New Year celebrated in New Zealand with a national holiday.

“We also want to see Matariki as a way to renew our excitement and learn to enjoy, share and achieve new goals and to ask for forgiveness for our mistakes and learn more every day,” a Andres said. “We know how important mana (status) is to the Maori people so we want to celebrate that by giving you our team jersey.”

Andres said the jersey represents “our motto, our skin, our blood, our sweat and our tears.”

“This shirt represents everything we have to do, our sacrifices, our victories, and we hope you see how privileged we are to play this tournament in your own country.”

Iwi spokesperson, Professor Major Durie, welcomed Spain’s apology.

“Their words came from the heart and there was an acknowledgment that they understood that the haka is very valuable, not only to Maori but to all of Aotearoa,” said Professor Durie. “In terms of what happened today at the powhiri, today was a very good result.”

Spain will play their opening World Cup match against Costa Rica in Wellington on Friday.

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