Ahead of the inaugural All Stars clash between the New Zealand Maori and the Indigenous All Stars, we hear from Maori star forward Tohu Harris.
How are you feeling ahead of the All Stars match?
It’s an exciting game to be part of, representing our culture and the Maori people, it’s pretty cool to be part of it. I’ve just got to make sure the body is right and fit for the game.
We are all excited for it, it’s an exciting concept.
Were you immersed in Maori culture growing up?
A little bit. I went to a kohanga before I started at primary school, so I was always around that sort of thing. I don’t know how to speak Maori myself, but my mum and dad do know a lot about it and where we come from on both sides of our family.
And how do you feel about James Tamou and some of the other Aussies playing for the Maori?
The game isn’t really about New Zealand and Australia or anything like that. It’s about our culture and where our families come from and our lineage. I imagine he is really excited to represent that side of his family. I know he has done it before.
Has there been any talk of a new haka for the game?
I think ‘Blairy’ (Adam Blair) has been talking about that. We seem to think we might be learning a new one. But we aren’t too sure what the details are. There’s going to be some learning next week.
For the first hit out of the year, what do you think the intensity will be like?
I think it will be pretty intense. Even the pre-match stuff I reckon will be intense, with the haka and I imagine the other indigenous side will probably do something that will represent their culture. There will be a lot of pride out there, so I think the game will definitely start with a lot of intensity. It’s going to be a clash of cultures.