Haka is a taonga that is steeped in whakapapa and has its origins in the creation of the universe, generating an abundance of meaning and value for Māori. On a national stage, haka is by far the most visible Indigenous ritual within the fabric of Aotearoa New Zealand’s national identity and continues to have a lasting legacy within the realm of sport. However, a major source of contention is the impact of globalisation on haka in sport, which has seen increasing issues of misuse, commodification, appropriation and tokenism.
Mātauranga Māori has become commonplace in international sport events involving New Zealand athletes and teams to create a national identity. The heart of this article examines the journey and implementation of mātauranga Māori into the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth games teams at Athens 2004, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010 and Delhi 2010. The experiences of one cultural advisor (referred to here as CA), who is also an ex-Olympian, are presented through an analysis that considers the principles of rangatiratanga and ōritetanga as advocated in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.