Check Your Team Name

I was just looking at a google search of Australia’s women Hockey team, the Hockeyroos. This is a term derived from our Soccer teams, the Socceroos, which is, yes, a silly word. It reminded me of an interesting and embarassing story about team names.

New Zealand famously has the All Blacks, their rugby team. The All Blacks’ name derives from their uniforms, which were in 1905, all black. There’s also been a strong undercurrent of pride for Maori and Polynesian people for the All Blacks.

This dance, the Haka, has been my entire life, the defining image of the All Blacks. Whether they win or they lose, they are amazingly intimidating, and they know it, and part of that strength comes from the cultures they bring together. I really envy the Haka, culturally: Even as a colonised nation, the players who represent New Zealand recognise the value and the power of the people who predated the nation called New Zealand. When Australians represent Australia in sport, we do not do it by spending a moment of spectacle to echo the history of the first Australians.

Anyway.

The New Zealand soccer team is the All Whites, because their uniform is all white.

The first Soccer World Cup they qualified for was in South Africa.

Edit: The All Whites also qualified for Spain in 1982.  So their second World Cup qualification was to take a team called the All Whites to a nation where Apartheid had been in place in my lifetime.

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