Haka can have a whole lot of different meanings - but to say it glorifies domestic violence is "way off", a haka expert says.
Te Wehi Haka director and haka expert Tapeta Wehi has slammed comments Don Brash made at the weekend that the haka was not a good representation of who New Zealanders are.
"Because it is basically a war dance, and violence, particularly domestic violence, is one of our major headaches in New Zealand. The haka to me seems to glorify it and that often worries me," told RadioLive listeners.
"I think the haka is a war dance. It implies we're going to slaughter our opponents on the rugby field. We often draw our finger across our throat to emphasise the point. I think it's overdone."
But Wehi disagreed with the former National leader. "He's way off."
The haka was about identity and who Māori are and where they came from, he said.
"Haka has a whole lot of different what we call kaupapa or meanings. You can haka at weddings, you haka at 21sts, you can haka before a game of rugby and you can haka at funerals so in a way you are paying tribute to that particular topic or gathering. So in no way is it glorifying domestic violence - I think he's way off there, Wehi said.
"It's more about identity. See the haka is a deep and meaningful part of our culture and a lot of it talks about the identity of who we are, where we come from, our roots. Trace back to our ancestors and it's basically talking about who we are as Māori people."