Kangaroos must believe in war dance: Blair
New Zealand forward Adam Blair says Kangaroos players must buy into Indigenous culture before they should consider performing an Indigenous war dance prior to Test matches.
Since Greg Inglis emerged from the centre of the Indigenous team prior to the All Stars match on the Gold Coast in 2015 there has been a growing groundswell for Australia to reintroduce a pre-game war dance that they last performed in France in 1967.
The war dance performed at the past two All Stars games was developed by the Indigenous players themselves with the likes of Greg Inglis and Johnathan Thurston at the very forefront.
Blair was co-captain of the Kiwis during their Test series against England late last year but said that leading the 'haka' was the honour he most aspired to growing up playing junior rugby league for Northland Carvers in New Zealand.
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney has confirmed former skipper Simon Mannering will regain the captaincy for the Test against Australia in Newcastle on May 6 but Blair and his co-captain in England Issac Luke will again play prominent roles.
Like the Kangaroos, the New Zealand team is a mix of the indigenous Maori, players from the neighbouring Pacific islands and European settlers but Blair says the haka is embedded across all cultures throughout New Zealand.
The possibility of Fijian-born Semi Radradra being selected for Australia next month raises further questions about the viability of a Kangaroos war dance and Blair says it is a tradition that must come from an early age.
"You've got to believe in it, that's the key behind it," Blair told NRL.com. "Everyone has to buy into what you're doing and everyone has to believe in it and I think you have to grow up in those kinds of things.
"Every guy that's played for New Zealand as they come through as a kid would have done the haka at some stage and that's why it obviously means a lot more to us because we got it drilled into us young.
"It's been passed on from our ancestors and it's like our heritage. You grow up into it, your family drive it into you and people around you and at the end of the day you're just giving back to the people that have done it before you."
Informed by Kiwi coach and Broncos assistant Stephen Kearney shortly after the grand final that he and Luke would be sharing the captaincy on the three-Test tour of England, Blair said he was "in shock" for quite a while afterwards.
Honoured to have led New Zealand onto the field in a Test, Blair said he always dreamed of leading the haka.
"The thing I wanted to do was to lead the haka," said the 30-year-old veteran of 34 Tests.
"For every New Zealander, if you ever wanted to play for your country you always wanted to lead the haka and that's what I aspired to do.
"I ticked that off and never thought about the captain role. I knew that Simon was there and it never really crossed my mind to be the captain but when an opportunity comes around that's when you realise that this could be another dream of yours.
"It didn't sink in for a long time. I got told not long after the grand final and even then I don't know if I really told anyone besides my wife.
"They were really happy but I was still in a little bit of shock as I didn't think I ever expected to be co-captain of my country."