A New Zealand Maori leader has backed controversial comments from South African coach Peter de Villiers that the haka is "overused", saying the traditional war dance has been "hijacked by rugby people".
Peter Love, trustee of an organisation which administers Maori reserves, told Fairfax media that Maori culture was being "abused" and was especially unhappy with a wave of haka "flash mobs" surrounding the World Cup.
"I'm concerned our (Maori) culture is being abused by the overuse and inappropriateness of the haka when it is performed outside special occasions," Love told Fairfax, in comments reported on Tuesay.
"The haka in our culture is something which is regarded as special and should not be bastardised by sport. Peter de Villiers is dead right when he says it is losing its respect."
Love, whose uncle is a former New Zealand Maori Rugby Board chairman, added that haka flash mobs, including more than a dozen in recent weeks with one in Barcelona and another at the Sydney Opera House, were misguided.
"The haka is a challenge, not something which is performed as an expression of delight," he said.
"Who told those people they could do that? The haka is an orchestrated representation of our culture when it is used in an appropriate place, but it is being abused," added Love.
De Villiers courted controversy when he said the face-pulling, foot-stamping dance and chant performed before rugby games by New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to intimidate opponents was becoming over-exposed.
"For me, about the World Cup especially, there is too many haka around," de Villiers told the Dominion Post newspaper. "It is unique, to me, and is losing its intensity, but that is only me.
"People are becoming so used to it. It is not a novelty any more and they don't respect it."
De Villiers' comments prompted an immediate response from the All Blacks, with centre Ma'a Nonu saying, "it's part of our history, our tradition.
"We're proud of it. I don't really care what he thinks," Nonu said.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.