Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

NZ Rugby 10 year strategy is a “platform” for Pasifika women and girls

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
The Black Ferns celebrate winning the Rugby World Cup 2021 final against England at Eden Park. Photo: Phil Walter / Getty Images
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

The College Rifles Rugby Club headquarters in Auckland was the place to be yesterday, as New Zealand Rugby officially launched the “Womens and Girls in Rugby Strategy plan” for the next ten years.

New Zealand Rugby chair, Dame Patsy Reddy spoke about the importance of the strategy plan and what it holds for the future of women’s rugby in the country.

The plan is broken down into five key focus areas, Culture, system, participation, performance and transitions. The different focus areas were then discussed amongst two panel groups, consisting of different people contributing to women’s rugby from both on and off the field.

Also present in one of the panels was co-chair of the Pacific Advisory Group for NZ Rugby, Pauline Jean Luyten who was vital in overlooking the strategy from a Pacific lens.

“I guess what’s fascinating for us is this strategy can be a platform for us Pacific women and girls. ”

“There’s a Pacific strategy coming out later this year, which identifies the value of a woman in a Pacific identity from players perspective right up to being on the board,” Pauline added.

Left to right. Savannah Tafau Levy. Savaeatama Eroni Clarke. Pauline Jean Luyten. Photo: Neueli Mauafu / Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific strategy that she referred to, is set to be released later this year, which will help set out pathways for Pasifika people involved in the sport. It will also have values and key areas that are similar to the strategy plan launched yesterday.

Former Black Fern and women’s rugby advocate Vania Wolfgramm stated that although it is still early days, having such conversations around our Pacific people is a major step forward.

“It’s refreshing hearing today’s launch talk about the Pacific and Maori lens, which is often never spoken of in rugby.”

“The Pacific strategy has been an ongoing work for some time now. The significant milestone for us is that we have formed a Pacific Advisory Group and that is a first for NZ Rugby. And now it’s more so of implementing that into our work with this strategy,” says Vania.

Another important topic discussed involved the different challenges and setbacks faced by women and girls in rugby.

It was a key discussion amongst the panels, ensuring that having a strategy as of now will help address such issues and improve the sport moving forward.

Both Vania and Pauline shared the same thoughts regarding the problems faced by Pasifika women and girls in the sport.

“It’s access”, Vania said.

“It’s not a lack of ability, it’s a lack of access and knowledge of where they’re advertising and where they can seek this information. With the strategy in place, we can see a change now, it is more visible now on what can be accessed by our women”.

Saveatama Eroni Clarke with Vania Wolfgramm. Photo: Neueli Mauafu / Tagata Pasifika

Pauline added that having women in the sport is a “different perspective” to how it is with the male form of the sport.

“A lot of these women have families and children. Our mothers are mainly responsible for looking after our children and being of support to our families”.

“Pasifika or Pacific are a collective, so we’re always not looking for our interests but we are looking for what our responsibilities are for our communities in general”.

Looking forward, both Pauline and Vania agree that the inclusion of our pacific women should be more than just on the field.

Vania, who is now working alongside the Pacific Advisory Group says that our pacific community still has more to offer.

“I think it was nicely put by Pauline that we come from a line of leaders and chiefs.We’re represented heavily on the playing field, but we can also lead in all sorts of spaces”.

“This is a significant change for our society. And what a better place to make that shift then through the sport we love as pacific islanders. I look forward to seeing some of that transformational change for our people at that level. It will take time, but I am glad that there is a bit of momentum now”

The full strategy plan can be found here

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