Malcolm Mulholland is ‘disappointed’ after hearing the news that the South African Rugby Union has decided not to proceed with the proposed match between NZ Māori and South Africa.
As the author of the recently released book Beneath the Māori Moon: An Illustrated History of Māori Rugby, Mulholland knows the historical background of playing between these countries better than many people.
‘Commercially a game between New Zealand Māori and the Springboks is a marketer’s dream. History provides a thousand reasons for the two sides to lock horns. Māori were excluded from touring the republic on three separate occasions – 1928, 1949 and 1960. Even today the consequences that had on the Māori players and their whānau still remembered. What better way to heal the hurt than by playing South Africa.’
‘If they won’t play us on their turf, let’s play them on ours. Next season will mark one hundred years since the first New Zealand Māori team was formed. The most appropriate opposition to play New Zealand Māori would be the Boks,’ says Mulholland.
‘Perhaps, if such a game was organised, the NZRU could offer an apology for their past actions regarding sporting contact with apartheid South Africa by offering retrospective test caps to those who were not selected in All Black touring squads on the basis of race.’
The book, Beneath the Māori Moon (Huia Publishers) is the first comprehensive history of the Māori men’s rugby team and was launched at Eden Park at the end of last month. It chronicles the development of the team from the time when rugby was first introduced to New Zealand, right up to present day and culminates with a chapter naming ‘The Best Māori XV’.