This entry will have some links to web pages to give some background about a very interesting article in the Portland Oregonian last Wednesday. I think your patience will be rewarded.
There's a decent Wikipedia article about Jefferson High School here. And another Wikipedia article about a dance ceremony performed by the Maori of New Zealand can be found here. And what happened when some exchange students from Tonga helped teach it to the kids at Jefferson and their football team started doing it before their games can be found in the Oregonian article here. Apologies for all the ads in the Oregonian article.
I don’t know why some of the other coaches and the Oregon sports association has been so anal about this. I haven’t really dug deep enough to find out how successful Jefferson’s football program has been in the past. But, if the enthusiasm and spirit focused on the haka have caused a turn around in team success I guess I can understand their frustration. If Jefferson used to be a push over and is no longer an easy win, then whoops I guess we’ll have to work for it now.
A predominately black school. They’re doing something different. It must be gang related. God/dess save us, if we can be saved. I really wonder sometimes. Frankly, for all our blue state rep in the national elections, Oregon has a history of racism that has never really been faced. And it's a mystery sometimes when I try to understand how my folks managed to raise a fairly liberal free thinker except that dad never let anybody tell him what to think or believe and neither did granddad.
I think it’s fantastic that kids from a place like Tonga want to come to school in Oregon. I think it’s even better that they’re going to a school like Jefferson, making it their home, and enriching it with their culture. Oh, and the Tongan students aren't just going to Jeffereson and we're getting students from other Pacific nations too.
My nephews go to David Douglas High school. It isn’t part of the same league so their team doesn’t play Jefferson. But, the kids and my sister have seen film of the Jefferson players doing the haka and they all think it’s great.
Just a side note, the extended version of Return of the King has several how we did it documentaries. One pretty much ends with members of the stunt crew giving the actors who played the two kings a very impressive haka. And the stunt guys looked so proud while they were doing it.
My personal opinion? Hey, teach us too, and we’ll do it together. Or we'll do ours and you do yours and then we'll get on with the game. But, that’s just me.