NZ Rugby accused of ignoring Pasifika strategy


A storm is brewing between NZ Rugby and its Pasifika Advisory Group, after one of its members resigned — claiming the group had been treated like “performing monkeys”.

NZ Rugby (NZR) was currently going through reforms following a scathing review of its governance, with calls now mounting for Pasifika representation on its board as soon as possible.

NZR launched its Pasifika strategy late last year, promising more representation off the field.

However, one of the advisory group’s members has now quit, claiming the plan was being completely ignored.

“I’m not happy, I think they are treating us like performing monkeys to be honest,” former Pacific Advisory Group member Pakilau Manase Lua told 1News.

“We want a seat at the table. We want a board member, we have enough people with the skills to be governance members and make decisions for our players.”

Others in the group said they needed a seat on the NZR board in order for its goals to be reached and they needed that now.

“We deserve a seat at the table with the commitment, and over 100 years of our energy and our mana, our sweat and tears that has been put into this game,” Pacific Advisory Group co-chair Pauline-Jean Luyten said.

“Nearly 40% of our male and female international rugby players are of Pasifika heritage, while very few are on rugby boards across the country — and none are on the NZR Board.”

Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu agreed more needed to be done around Pacific representation at the top levels of the game.

“I think it’s very important, you look at the contribution Pasifika’s had in New Zealand in terms of our rugby scene, its quite significant.

“I’d think it was very important to have representation at board level,” he said.

In a statement, New Zealand Rugby acknowledged its inequities in governance roles, but said it was starting to implement the Pasifika Action Plan, which will be rolled out over six years and included representation of Pasifika at all levels.

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