Black Ferns star Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate’s mother’s ‘death stares’ helped inspire fearsome haka

Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate takes great pride in leading the Black Ferns haka. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

As a young girl, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate became far more fearful of her mother’s “death stares” if she didn’t get up and lead a Waiata or Pōwhiri than performing the rituals in front of crowds.

So when she was asked to lead the Black Ferns haka for the first time in 2014 – the same year as her international debut – it was a natural move following her upbringing immersed in Māori culture.

The only intimidation factor in Ngata-Aerengamate stepping up to lead the haka being for her opponents.

“When I got to lead the haka for the first time they asked me ‘how does it feel to lead the haka?'”

Being so inexperienced on the international rugby stage, her answer may have surprised her Black Ferns teammates.

“It’s easy-peasy,” Ngata-Aerengamate told Sky Sport’s vodcast.

“It’s been instilled in my life ever since I was a baby.

“If I didn’t get up and do the Pōwhiri and sing a Waiata or lead the Waiata my mum would be death stares,” Ngata-Aerengamate quipped.

“I had to do it so when I got asked that question can I do it [haka], I could already see my mum in the stands looking at me like ‘get up’ so it was just breakfast, lunch and dinner for me.

“No nerves at all,” Ngata-Aerengamate said.

Ngata-Aerengamate of Ngāti Porou, was a Rugby World Cup winner in 2017 but her career hasn’t always been plain sailing.


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