In a fundamental change to the standard make-up of the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) board, former Black Ferns women’s team captain Dr Farah Palmer has been elected to represent women for the first time. With a view toward improved equity, as Farah Palmer joins NZR board it will influence the common perception of the boards role in governance, and its meaning.
As well, today the ASB Rugby Awards for 2016 have been presented. Held at the SkyCity convention centre in Auckland, NZ Rugby held a glittering evening to recognize the efforts of players, coaches, administrators and volunteers.
Both pieces of news are reminders that the game of rugby is more than just a game. Not just about ratings or a scoreboard, as Farah Palmers appointment is a reflection of society and the need to represent women. The awards bring the players closer to their stakeholders, with nominations and public voting an accolade for the sports people and the teams.
Farah Palmer joins NZR Board
Three-times World Cup winning captain and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee, Dr Farah Palmer (ONZM) has been elected to the board following the recent retirement of Maori Representative Wayne Peters. This also means Dr Palmer will assume the chairperson role of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board [est. 1910].
Courtesy of an NZR media release, NZR Chairman Brent Impey congratulated Dr Palmer on her election. He said her experience on and off the field would be an asset to rugby’s future success.
“I am confident that Farah’s understanding of the issues facing rugby gained through roles with the Maori Rugby Board, NZR’s Rugby Committee and work for World Rugby.”
Dr Palmer Brings a New Perspective to NZR Board
“As well as congratulating Farah on her election, I also want to acknowledge the Provincial Unions for nominating and ultimately electing Farah as their Maori Representative to the Board. While Dr Palmer becomes the first woman elected to NZR’s Board in its almost 125 history, she clearly represented the best person for the role and the interests of Maori rugby,” says Mr Impey.
The respected and honoured University lecturer has a high standing in the game. In 2016, her name graced the Women’s Provincial Championship trophy, as the Farah Palmer Cup was contested for the first season–won by Counties Manukau. A recognition of her status in the women’s game,it was the ‘cheery on the top’ for a game and demographic that is growing quickly.
Women’s Game In Prime Position
As stated in an earlier article, the results on the field see women take a prime position in the game. And after some not so flattering headlines in the media, respect and responsibility is not just a keyword for NZ Rugby. The appointment of Dr Palmer is no coincedence, and a move to toward self evaluation.
The balance that she may bring to the board, will help establish new policies and initiate change within the organisation, that influences the behaviour and attitude of players and stakeholders. Dr Palmer told allblacks.com “It’s a great honour and privilege to be elected to an organisation that means so much to so many and plays such a fundamental role in New Zealand society.
“There are more Maori playing rugby than ever before and an unprecedented number pulling on a black jersey, whether that’s with the All Blacks, Black Ferns, Sevens teams or Maori All Blacks.
“I am grateful to the Provincial Unions for electing me to the position and look forward to building on Wayne’s enormous contribution to the game.”
ASB Rugby Awards 2016
The big winner at the 2016 New Zealand Rugby awards was Beauden Barrett. In a repeat of his achievement from the World Rugby Awards, held in November. Winner of two awards on this evening*, it credits a superb season for the Taranaki first-five–even if his Hurricanes team were beaten for ‘Team of the Year’ by the All Blacks–Beauden has shown to be the MVP of NZ Rugby by far.
The All Blacks player was not the only Barrett to be heralded. Younger sibling Jordie; an apprentice on the recent November Internationals, was the winner of the ‘Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year’ and ‘New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year’. A tremendous elevation from his role with the Under 20 side, it means that the Hurricanes will hold two Barrett boys in 2017–and will be the beginnings of a rugby dynasty.
NZR chairman Brent Impey congratulated all award winners, adding that the annual event was an opportunity to celebrate rugby from community to the elite level.
“There is something very special in recognizing our best people on the field alongside the people who give their very best off it,” said Impey.
In a special moment, Sir Gordon Tietjens (below) was honoured for his services to Sevens rugby. In a consilatory gesture, he was awarded a ceremonial Maori mere, to signal his contribution to the All Black Sevens after leaving the position he held for 22 years. A fine gesture of goodwill from NZR, which saw a standing ovation for the 12-time World Series winning ex-coach.
2016 ASB Rugby Awards winners:
New Zealand Rugby age grade player of the year:
Jordie Barrett (NZ Under 20s/Canterbury)
Charles Monro rugby volunteer of the year:
Gary Donovan (Suburbs RFC, Auckland)
NZ Rugby Players Association Kirk award:
New Zealand Rugby referee of the year:
Glen Jackson (Bay of Plenty)
Mitre 10 Heartland Championship player of the year:
Te Rangatira Waitokia (Wanganui)
Mitre 10 Cup player of the year:
Jordie Barrett (Canterbury)
Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens player of the year:
Rieko Ioane (Auckland)
SKY Television fans’ try of the year:
Isaiah Punivai (Christ’s College)
Black Ferns Sevens player of the year:
Sarah Goss (Manawatu)
Investec Super Rugby player of the year:
*Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)
Tom French Memorial Maori player of the year:
Dane Coles (Ngati Porou)
New Zealand Rugby women’s player of the year:
Selica Winiata (Manawatu)
ASB rugby coach of the year:
Steve Hansen (All Blacks)
adidas team of the year:
Kelvin Tremain Memorial player of the year:
*Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes/All Blacks)
The evening puts a full stop on 2016, with all national teams now on leave before another busy year ahead.
“Main photo credit”