Concepts of Cultural Appropriation versus Appreciation

Concepts of Cultural Appropriation versus Appreciation


Globalizing local indigenous culture is one of the most beautiful aspects of cultural integration. Maoka Maori’s Haka dance performed by the Maori people of New Zealand is an example of integration. It is a symbol of cultural appropriation which is about elimination of the contemporary issues of a culture of a given group of people, such as the Maori people. It is a posture dance performed with dancers taking a pose which creates a lot of humor. The Haka of All Blacks is performed by the New Zealand rugby team a head of their matches. This paper will discuss concepts of cultural appropriation versus appreciation and how power and history play a part in the difference between appropriation and appreciation.

Cultural appropriation is about power, background and histories relating to persecution or colonialism. The version of a Haka, Maori’s war dance is an illustration of a complex relationship between the culture in question and the New Zealand white people. It is appropriation because the white players of the rugby team play it with an impression that all New Zealanders, who are the white peoples the majority of the New Zealand people ‘own’ the Haka. The ultimate implication of this appropriation is that the way of the Maori people is covered hence they are  dispossessed, the Treaty of Waitangi is broken, turning a blind eye to all the many brutalities as well as infringements of human rights in the history of New Zealand. It can also be considered that  the excitement of the dance can only give the impression that the Haka has no other meaning except the fact that it is only a war dance, after all there are many kinds of Haka for various occasions and even others women dance.

Although Haka style of dance originated from an indigenous tribe, it has been appreciated even by trade delegations and attends other official functions from other continents. These are examples of how Haka is being internationalized hence appropriated. Since the world has is now a global village, the Haka has really developed a symbol of its kind to help it identify with New Zealand. New Zealanders persist on recognizing idea that the Haka needs respect for it to endure as an icon (The Haka, n.d.).

Maori culture as illustrated by the performance of the Haka dance is represented as an ideal offset to the failure of other cultures since this culture cherish the dead, spiritual relationship with the land.  Maori thought again gives an appreciation of the mystical dimension and transcends reason. If an aspect of a culture is full of meaning not only to those performing it, but also to those who have an opportunity to observe it, the appropriated culture is also appreciated. Many culture, fail to be appropriated because they cannot be recognized. For instance, any given social situation involving Maori will evoke Tikanga to influence ways a group of people interact or work together in order to successfully complete a task. It also builds interpersonal relationships creating such a formidable force to reckon with in addition to creating ways that individuals identify with one another especially in the pursuit of something valuable.

Since there are many New Zealanders abroad, it is likely that they will take part in performing the Haka within foreign locations. The difference cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation is complicated. Appropriation is concerned with an idea about a problem resulting from power and history and there is nothing wrong with appreciation from superficial meaning. Unfortunately, my culture does not have any aspect which has become appropriated since it has not been recognized by other tribes in my own nation (Connolly, 2009).


The traditional Haka dance played by the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team is a good example of cultures that represent appreciation and appropriation since the dance belongs to a small culture of the Maori people but it receives an international recognition. There is a slight difference between appropriation and appreciation in that appropriation implies the dominance of the white culture over the black hence a reminder of racism aspects, whereas there is nothing wrong with appreciation in itself.


The Haka. (n.d.). New Zealand Maori Culture, , New Zealand Haka. Retrieved March 6, 2014, from

Connolly, E. (2009, February 12). Maori win battle to control All Blacks’ haka ritual. The Guardian. Retrieved March 6, 2014, from



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