Arizona Wildcats Football Team Stops Haka Dance After Criticism

By Stina Sieg
Published: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 5:31pm
Updated: Monday, October 5, 2015 - 9:37am
Audio icon Download mp3 (806.25 KB)

Football players at the University of Arizona are ending a pre-game ritual after international backlash. The team had been regularly performing a Maori dance known as a haka for six years.

But recently, a video of their version of the ancestral dance went viral in New Zealand and was slammed by many Kiwis as cultural appropriation. The Wildcats finally halted their haka practice after a petition was started.

Arizona had been performing the dance before games since 2009, when it was introduced by a group of Polynesian players. The school said it will now seek alternative ways for Polynesian athletes to share their heritage.

Hakas are still being performed at at least two other universities in the country — Brigham Young and Hawaii.