The captain of Spain’s women’s football team has apologized after the team shared a video of their players mocking New Zealand’s haka, a traditional Indigenous Māori dance.
In the now-deleted video, four players can be seen laughing while yelling, slapping their knees and jumping in the air.
It was shared on the team’s social media account with the caption “We are already acclimatised” shortly after the team arrived in New Zealand on the week of July 10 for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The video was later deleted due to backlash.
Haka are a variety of ceremonial dances in the culture of New Zealand’s Indigenous Māori people.
The dances are often performed in a group and involve vigorous body movements, including stamping feet and slapping hands against the body, accompanied by rhythmic shouting.
It is performed by many of the country’s sports teams before international matches as a challenge to opponents, with the All Blacks, the national rugby team, being the most well-known example.
On Monday July 17, a week after the video was posted, Spain’s captain Ivana Andrés finally apologized on behalf of the team at their official welcome ceremony held by a local tribe in Palmerston North in New Zealand’s North Island.
“We’ve only been a few days in Aotearoa New Zealand, and there’s still much to learn about this culture. We appreciate you teaching us during these minutes, especially in such a significant moment as Matariki in which the stars announce the start of a new year,” Andrés said in Spanish.
“We face this Matariki with renewed spirits, longing to learn, enjoy, share, find success in our work, ask forgiveness for our mistakes and be better each day,” she added.
She also gifted a Spain team jersey to the tribe.
Another video has also emerged of the Netherlands’ players appearing to mock the haka.
It shows the Dutch players laughing as they squat, slap their knees and make grunting noises.
The Dutch team has denied they were mocking the haka, saying that the players were doing an exercise on “channelling your inner strength”.
The video, which was shared on the team’s official social media, has since also been deleted.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup is being held in New Zealand and Australia between July 20 and August 20, 2023.