WISPA celebrate new partnership with MWDI

Share this article

Māori women and girls will now have a starring role in sport, thanks to a new multi-year deal between Women in Sport Aotearoa/Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (Wispa) and Māori Women’s Development Inc (MWDI).

Republished with permission by Stuff. View original article

 

Māori women and girls will now have a starring role in sport, thanks to a new multi-year deal between Women in Sport Aotearoa/Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (Wispa) and Māori Women’s Development Inc (MWDI).

The new partnership, which was announced at Wispa’s Women in Sport captains’ lunch at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday, focuses on boosting engagement of wāhine Māori of all ages in play, active recreation and sport.

It provides pathways into sport business and journalism through mentorships and scholarships, and supports young wāhine Māori into positions of influence in play, active recreation and sport.


Prue Kapua is president of the Māori Women's Welfare League.
SUPPLIED
Prue Kapua is president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League.

Research from Sport New Zealand found while young Māori participate in sport more than their Pākehā counterparts, participation rates drop off in adulthood.

President of the Māori Women’s Welfare League and MWDI trustee Prue Kapua (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Kahungunu) said Māori “absolutely” have poorer health outcomes, but this initiative will help change that.

Māori are more likely to die prematurely from avoidable diseases or injuries and on average, Māori die seven years earlier than non-Māori. Sport is also more than physical health too, she said.

The partnership is about removing barriers Māori face by “proitising” wāhine in sport.

“We will be building … programming that identifies and supports Māori women and to move that up the agenda and have it at the forefront is important to us,” Kapua said.

“Sport is important … for your own self-confidence. It’s important as a stepping stone for a lot of people into other areas.

“If you have the confidence in sport and ability to contribute that way, actually you’re probably pretty fearless in taking on a lot of other things.”


Former Black Fern Louisa Wall is a founding member of Women in Sport Aotearoa
ANDREW GORRIE/STUFF
Former Black Fern Louisa Wall is a founding member of Women in Sport Aotearoa

Former Black Fern-turned-politician and Women in Sport Aotearoa founding member Louisa Wall (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Hineuru, Waikato Tainui, Ngāti Kuri) said the partnership is a “wonderful opportunity” to ensure Māori women and girls can “equally participate, compete and build careers in play, active recreation and sport in Aotearoa, New Zealand”.

“And … ensure that indigenous women and girls can enjoy all the opportunities that sport and recreation offers too,” she said.

“[We] want to help develop a sport and recreation environment where Māori and indigenous women and girls can thrive and fully participate. These opportunities need to be distributed to all women and girls equally.”

Former Black Fern- turned-academic Dr Farah Palmer (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato Tainui) is one of two women on the New Zealand Rugby board. Board director Jennifer Kerr also identifies as Maori (in addition to European). Her main iwi affiliation is to Ngati Mutunga.

In the state sector, as of 2019, wāhine Māori made up 11.5 percent of all appointed board members, according to the Ministry for Women.

In sport, by the end of the year, all organisations that receive more than $50,000 in government funding must have at least 40 per cent female representations on their boards, or funding could be risked. Rugby New Zealand will not make the deadline.


Dr Farah Palmer and Jennifer Kerr are the only women on the New Zealand Rugby board
GETTY IMAGES
Dr Farah Palmer and Jennifer Kerr are the only women on the New Zealand Rugby board

“Māori women are highly capable and confident, it’s about making sure the system is set up so that there are opportunities for Māori women to get into these leadership roles,” Palmer said.

“Māori women have a lot of mana. Often the first voice you hear on the marae is the kaikaranga- a Māori women’s role – and I know lots of aunties on the marae who boss us around! So they do have mana, they do have speaking rights in the whare.

“And we work in different ways. I may not be up there doing the whaikōrero (formal speaking) but I’ll be doing the work behind the scenes and making sure everybody feels they can contribute.”

One wāhine voice coming through loudly is Sky Sport presenter and elite athlete Honey Hireme (Ngāti Raukawa, Te Arawa). She’s excited to see the initiative “come to fruition”.

Hirene, who has represented New Zealand in rugby, rugby league and sevens, said it’s “been a battle” to where she is, but she said this initiative will help Māori have an “equal” and “clear” pathways into sport and media.

Sport unites our nation, and when Kiwis take on the world fans join together on Stuff to follow their trials and triumphs. From World Cups to Cup Day, Olympic Games to the Ranfurly Shield, we provide breaking news, analysis, reports, commentary, columns and, ultimately, we back black.

But to keep bringing you live sport, in-depth reporting and the stories of athletes across Aotearoa, we need your help.

“You step into the real unknown when you haven’t had anyone to look up to, so it’s stepping out of your comfort zone and stand in your own mana when you are dominated around males within media or governance or participate – in community or elite level – for me it has been a difficult road but one I hope women are ready to step up to the challenge,” she said.

“Sport has always been a male-dominated realm, in all facets of sport, on the field or off it. Now seeing women being empowered to create opportunities, have these opportunities and have doors open is massive for wāhine maori and all women.”

It’s about challenging those traditional roles and stepping into something new and exciting, she said.

“As an example … for me my mum was a labourer and a housewife, her mum was a housewife and that was what a lot of us as young Māori women grew up with and that was the expectation for us,” she said.

“We now live in a new generation where wāhine Māori are seen as leaders and chiefs of their iwi, hapū, communities and can stand in their own mana and their own identity to empower other kōtiro (girls) and wāhine.”

IWG 2018-2022

Find out about our leadership work on the global stage

Insight Hub

Gain real insights to help you make a case for change

LockerRoom

Catch-up on the latest from our partners at LockerRoom

Programmes

Read about our work to influence gender equity in sport

MAJOR PARTNERS

OFFICIAL SUPPORTERS

FUNDING PARTNERS

OFFICIAL SUPPLIERS

FRIENDS & ALLIES