When I lead the Timaru Boys' High School haka against Waitaki at Fraser Park I wasn't quite prepared for the response to theirs.
Ka mate was jeered, booed and laughed at.
After that, the school to a boy sang the traditional eh-oh la spatio- moo-ree-oo'
Then came 'speedy oil' - the song dedicated that magical ointment the first XV would rub into every muscle and limb.
Oh, and let's not forget the school song - 'Let's add to her story.. some new deed of glory..'
Was this some sort of aristocratic old boys' old english education?
No. This is state school education in New Zealand. A land with culture.
Could Australia ever have any culture? A decent national anthem? Sportstars to be proud of?
I think what you see happens redback, is that nations that have such a dominant national sport such as New Zealand, the culture flows back through so much towns and dominates and influences the towns around the nation.
You cut through the Australian outer metro area's and you see variances due to the great love of all sports. In the western suburbs of Perth you will see a public school with a synthetic hockey field with a grandstand, in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne you will see Baseball fields with a cricket wicket in the middle. In Springvale a grandstand was built as a war memorium. In Perth a lot of the cricket clubs and aussie rules clubs play on different grounds.
There is great divergence in sporting culture in Australia. You scratch the edges, you research you find it fascinating. Comparing this to New Zealand's sporting culture is out of context, because Australia is a sporting nation of more then one or two sports...