A while ago there was upheaval about the All Blacks. They performed a new Haka called Kapa o Pango instead of the traditional Ka Mate.

An early performance of the new Kapa o Pango haka

The trouble was that it included a throat-slitting gesture. After a lot of fuss the haka was slightly changed and it all ended with everyone more or less saving face.

What happened since then? Not a lot apparently, there is little in the news. One recent newsflash does mention the Kapa o Pango and still refers to the ‘ending with a cut-throat gesture’, implying that in their view the ending has not really changed. Internally, they seem to have settled on keeping the Kapa o Pango for special test matches and sticking to the story about drawing breath instead of cutting throats.

Well, I will be looking forward to how they do this gesture at the end precisely. Fortunately for them, everybody is now so sensitive to the threatening gesture, that they hardly need to make it. Everyone will expect it and be looking for it. They can now afford to actually make a watered-down version, claim innocence and still get the message across. The only trouble is whether the All Blacks can accept giving an impression of having backed down. If some want to appear unwavering, firm, or just outright frightening (which is the purpose after all) they may well go for the throat.