New Zealand | Becks and the powhiri

Becks and a Maori welcome

The Beckham has landed” reports the New Zealand Herald in Nov 29 editions. Some 500, as if hearing of a child in a creche, came to adore him in Wellington, where David Beckham has arrived with L.A. Galaxy for a friendly against Australian A-League side Wellington Phoenix on Dec 1. “I told him he’s a legend,” says Kat, 22. “I asked him for a high five but then I felt stink so I just shook his hand.”

Becks and teammates did not know what to make of the customary Maori welcome, the powhiri. The term breaks into two parts, combining the ideas of a venture into the unknown with an “act or experience of exchanging information and knowledge.”

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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