NZ newspaper rues boos during haka dance, anthem blunder during Tall Blacks match
Boos from the home crowd marred New Zealand's traditional haka war dance before its game against Gilas on Wednesday. Jerome Ascano

THE unfortunate boos that greeted the Tall Blacks’ pre-game haka and the wrong playing of the national anthem in their face off against Gilas Pilipinas last Wednesday in the Manila Olympic Qualifiying Tournament has left a bitter taste with the Kiwis.

In a news report on Friday, The New Zealand Herald Tribune wrote: “The Tall Blacks have performed like professionals on the floor at the Olympic Qualifiers, but their pre-game treatment has had a distinctly amateur vibe.”

The report added that “playing in Manila, the Kiwis have had to deal with booing and music playing during the haka, and have also seen the Canadian national anthem played instead of the New Zealand version.”

Instead of ‘God Defend New Zealand,' the stadium speakers played ‘O Canada,’ the newspaper bared.

It added that as the “fanatic crowd” booed the haka, the traditional war dance “was itself overshadowed by buildup music playing throughout it,” but recognized that the crowd applauded the haka in its conclusion.

Many local netizens have deplored the display at the Mall of Asia Arena, something that was shared in the Tribune report. 

“The organisers have not done their job well,” said Aireen Laserna, a Filipino New Zealander on Facebook.

Glenn Macaspac, another naturalized Kiwi, said: "Mag review ng maige yung nasa production. Common sense may action sa court, the music volume should have been lowered during the haka. I'm not offended by the booing (since) it was not racist-like, para lang yun  support ng team," adding in rugby, "Minsan habang haka, sumisigaw ng malakas yung opposite crowd, not necessarily booing but to overpower the haka."  

Despite the unwanted distraction, the Tall Blacks prevailed over Gilas before bowing to top-seeded France. New Zealand will face off against Canada in the semifinals on Saturday.

“Hopefully the anthems will be played in the correct order (in the semifinals),” the Tribune ended.

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