'Disrespectful': Group of nurses blasted for anti-virus 'haka'

Publish Date
Monday, 20 April 2020, 8:51PM

A group of nurses fighting Covid-19 at a UK hospital have been branded "embarrassing" and "disrespectful" for performing their version of a haka to fight the pandemic.

The nurses from Tavistock Hospital posted the video to Twitter. It shows a large group of uniformed nurses performing for the camera with what appears to be bandages around their heads.

Some have also smeared a dark colour under their eyes.

They hold up pictures of a novel coronavirus molecule before attempting some kind of attempt at a haka.

Midway through the performance, one nurse steps forward clutching a piece of medical equipment and bellows:

"This is the message we wish to affirm!

"You'll never beat us, we hate you, you germ!

"Together we'll triumph with strength from within!

"Mankind will destroy you, mankind will win!"

Speaking to the BBC, the hospital said the haka was a moment of "wonderful bonding".

Despite their enthusiasm, comments on the hospital's social media feed were less than complimentary.

Many people have asked whether the nurses were really that busy if they had time to rehearse and perform.

"I can't believe this, they must know the majority of the public find these disrespectful when we are told how rushed off their feet they are," wrote one man.

"They must have practised for a while too. Maybe that time could have been spent at a hospital that is struggling."

Others said the performance was "embarrassing" and a "lot of cringe".

Some posted in support of the nurses, saying they were working in a high-pressure environment.

"Give them a break ... High pressure job letting off a bit of steam with a bit of loonacy (sic) is great for morale & shares their hope for the future," wrote one supporter.

The British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke has since posted to Twitter, responding to a user that she would be getting in touch with the nurses involved, to advise them of the cultural misappropriation and to ask them to take the video down.

-Additional reporting from nzherald.co.nz