Haka Rugby Global is about to head to New York to deliver their unique training camp to 50 students at one of the city's top universities.
Half of the programme at the camp at Sienna College will focus on rugby coaching, while the other half will teach students about haka and the Māori culture.
Since the launch in May 2017, the camps have coached more than 2500 kids at 20 schools in America, Europe and Asia, says co-founder and coach Troy Nathan.
“We run through certain protocols at our camps. We do a pōwhiri for the kids and throughout the course of the camp they learn our values and why we do it. On the last day the kids are tāngata whenua and they welcome on their parents,” says Nathan.
"We'll get a lot of kids with behavioural issues. They might not connect with the rugby but as soon as they connect with the Māori culture you have them. You have their trust, you have their respect and it’s such a powerful tool what we have.”
Co-founders and coaches Nathan and Regan Sue will host the camp next week, along with a new addition to the team, former All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes.
“With his Sevens experience I’m sure they’ll learn a lot,” says Nathan.
Participants will also learn how to perform a haka.
“They’ll learn the values of why we do the haka. We won’t commercialise the haka. We have our own,” he says.
“It’s not just about performing a haka in front of people. It’s about team building, sharing the same spirit.”
He says since rugby is now an Olympic sport, it’s become very popular in New York so he’s excited to coach the students.
“They’ll be in an age bracket where you can really do some rugby coaching.”
Later this year Haka Rugby Global plans to host camps in the Middle East and South America.