Maori traditions rooted in the never-ending tourI'm glad the Boston Celtics don't have a similar requirement. . .
By Brendan Gallagher
The clash between New Zealand Maori and the British and Irish Lions [rugby teams] at Hamilton tomorrow - the so-called fourth Test - may be viewed by many as a massive culture clash, but you only have to scratch the surface to realise that it is a meeting of kindred spirits.
The Maori, like their opponents, are always on tour, even in their own country. They are a team of no fixed abode, though they can pitch their tent anywhere on the North Island, where 90 per cent of New Zealand's Maori population live.
The eligibility process governing those who can play for Maori is thorough. Those wishing to be considered have their credentials examined by the kaumatua, or cultural advisor, who will trace the players' whakapapa or genealogy.
Waiting for the green light can be a tense business. Christian Cullen - with largely Tongan and Anglo-Irish antecedents - was deemed to have no chance but the kaumatua found him to be 1/64th Maori.
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