Despite their extensive legacy within the pan-Pacific rugby community, the Australian national team had one glaring deficiency, especially compared to their New Zealand rivals: their pre-game “unity dance” did little to inspire fear into their competition and courage among their fans. This hard truth was especially egregious considering the apparent diversity of the team, featuring a substantial number of ethnically aboriginal players who have long felt omitted from celebrating their culture loudly and proudly on the field.
ARAATIKA! (a.k.a. THE FIGHT TOGETHER) is a documentary about one man’s mission to take on decades of cultural injustice and incorporate more indigeneity into the sport. It opens up a broader conversation about Australia’s deeply problematic history of racism and how symbols and practice matter greatly in the campaign to restore dignity and pride for repressed communities. For these players, rugby is their platform, and this dance is their voice.