New Zealand rugby team honors 30 years of Czech-Kiwi diplomacy with haka dance at Prague Castle

The New Zealand Ambassador's team will compete against the Czech rugby team on Wednesday in Prague.


Written by ČTK Published on 20.06.2023 08:29:00 (updated on 20.06.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

The New Zealand Ambassador's rugby team, gearing up for their match against Czechia on Wednesday, treated President Petr Pavel to a mesmerizing display of the traditional Maori haka dance in the South Gardens of Prague Castle Monday. In his address to the New Zealand athletes, Pavel praised the values embodied by rugby, emphasizing their significance beyond the realm of sports.

Originating as a warrior ritual before battles, the haka dance has become a cherished tradition for New Zealand rugby players, performed before every international match. It features an immersive blend of rhythmic chants, shouts, gestures, and fierce expressions.

The president mused that this was likely the first-ever haka performance at Prague Castle. He received jerseys from both teams, who are set to showcase their skills in an exhibition match on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Tatra Smichov complex.

Jaroslav Zajíček, director of the Presidential Office foreign affairs department, said, "The New Zealand Ambassadors team approached the Presidential Office to inquire about the possibility of dancing here. The aim is to convey a message of courage, which resonates strongly with the president. Moreover, it serves as a testament to the excellent relations between the Czech Republic and New Zealand."

The occasion also held significance as it marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Zajíček added, "In my view, rugby in New Zealand, and football in our country, for instance, possess a remarkable ability to transcend barriers and become integral parts of our respective cultures." He added that he considered it "not just a sporting endeavor but also a form of sports diplomacy," which made the performance at Prague Castle "such a momentous occasion."

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