Former All Blacks captain Wayne Shelford says Aaron Smith should still be considered the right man to lead the haka despite his recent fall from grace.

Shelford, nicknamed Buck, played 22 tests for the All Blacks and has been credited as making the haka what it is today.

He told Stuff that leading the haka was a humbling experience, that it was an honour to be even considered, and that it "certainly needs a lot of wairua and ihi [energy and spirit]."

Smith returned early from South Africa and didn't play the recent test against the Springboks after his actions in entering a disabled toilet at Christchurch airport with a woman the day after the All Blacks v Boks test in the city.


He is due to face a New Zealand Rugby misconduct hearing at a date yet to be announced by the organisation.

In Smith's absence in Durban, the All Blacks beat the Boks 57-15 and his halfback rival TJ Perenara led the Kapa o Pango haka, one which the team generally reserve for special tests.