Spain’s national women’s football team has apologised for imitating the haka during a training session in Aotearoa ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
Appearing at a pōwhiri ceremony in Palmerston North, where they are staying for the competition, captain Ivana Andrés expressed remorse to local iwi Rangitāne and presented a customised jersey to them.
“We've only been in Aotearoa New Zealand for a few days and we have so much to learn about your culture," the English translation of the apology said. “Therefore, thank you so much for the kindness to dedicate a few minutes of your wisdom, especially in such an important moment as Matariki."
“We'd also like to see Matariki as a way to renovate our excitement, and for us to learn to enjoy, to share and to reach for new goals and to ask for forgiveness for our mistakes, and to learn more each day.”
"We know how important mana is for Māori people, and therefore, we'd like to celebrate that by giving you a jersey of our team.”
The jersey has ‘Papaioea’ - the Māori name for Palmerston North - printed on the back.
"This jersey represents our mana, our skin, our blood, our sweat and our tears,” Andrés added. “This shirt represents everything we have to fight for, our sacrifices, our victories, and we hope that you see the privilege we have of playing this tournament in your land.”
It is the first time Spain has spoken about the haka video since it surfaced last week. Newshub reports the team wanted to apologise in person, rather than release a message on social media.
The video in question shows four Spanish players imitating what looks like Ngāti Toa's Ka Mate haka before screaming and laughing.
The World Cup kicks off on Thursday the 20th, as New Zealand take on Norway at Eden Park. Spain's first game is on Friday the 21st when they'll go up against Costa Rica.