The chant is part of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team’s pregame ritual and was mimicked by Arizona prior to their game against UCLA.
Some New Zealand tribal natives had taken offense to the Wildcats’ use of the chant and petitioned to stop it.
Arizonas athletic department issued a statement saying the team did not intend to offend anyone.
“The Arizona football program has a strong lineage of Polynesian student-athletes, and in 2009, a group of players wished to share this aspect of their culture with their teammates and community,” Arizona Athletics told the New Zealand Herald. “As a result, the Ka Mate Haka, which had been popularized throughout the world by the All Blacks and recognized by other members of the team, became part of the program's on-field pregame preparation starting that year.”
“Even though that intent remains the same today, we've been made aware that a segment of the population is unhappy that the haka is being performed,” the university added. “As a result, we have decided to discontinue the activity.”
Watch Arizona's Haka below:
Watch Arizona's “How to Haka” video below:
- Christopher Chavez