Latest News

Back to Latest News back


New Zealand sport ‘in denial’ over racism

New Zealand sport ‘in denial’ over racism
October 14, 2010

New Zealand sport is “some way from effectively engaging with entrenched but disavowed racist attitudes” according to researchers at the University of Waikato.

In a paper, ‘Speaking the Unspoken: Racism, Sport and Maori’, published in the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal, the University of Waikato’s Dr Toni Bruce and graduate student H. Raima Hippolite suggest that New Zealand sport is in “cultural denial” over racism and that there is a “culture of silence in which it is difficult to talk about, let alone discuss constructively, Maori experiences of racism.”

In the paper, the authors consider “the silence that surrounds issues of racism in New Zealand sport.” Their aim is to put the issue on the agenda, having followed a kaupapa Maori research approach which brings to light the voices, frustrations and concerns of Maori sportspeople.

The authors, from the University’s Department: Sport and Leisure Studies, “consider the silence that surrounds issues of racism in New Zealand sport.

“(They) argue that the intersection of two key ideologies – New Zealand’s purported history of good race relations, and the positive contribution that sport is believed to make to racial equality – contribute to a culture of silence in which it is difficult to talk about, let alone discuss constructively, Maori experiences of racism.”

The authors “aim is to put the issue on the agenda through engagement with ten experienced Maori sport participants, coaches and administrators whose experiences demonstrate the existence of, and pain caused by, cultural and institutional racism in New Zealand sport. In this aim, we do not seek to hide behind a veil of neutrality or objectivity. Rather, following a kaupapa Maori research approach, our interest is in bringing to light the voices, frustrations and concerns of Maori sportspeople in order to contribute to a much-needed conversation.”

The authors conclude that “in New Zealand we are some way from effectively engaging with entrenched but disavowed racist attitudes (and that) the denial of racism in sport justifies resistance to discussing the entrenched advantages that Pakeha have and continue to gain at the expense of Maori.”

While highlighting “the high visibility of Maori athletes in national teams, especially in high profile sports such as rugby union, rugby league, netball and basketball” the authors explain that “Maori know racialised thinking is present in sport and many want it out in the open rather than whispered or obscured.

“However, their desires are undercut by the strength of the belief in sport as a place of equal opportunity, along with the broader mythology that New Zealand has the best race relations in the world, which appear to coalesce in a way that makes talking about racism particularly difficult.”

They also state that “those in power have not demonstrated any interest in confronting or challenging racial issues in sport, especially at the cultural and institutional levels. Indeed, from the participants’ perspectives, those in power seem unwilling to even acknowledge that problems exist.”

The full paper, as published in Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal, Volume.2, No.2, 2010 41, ISSN: 1837-5391 can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

CCS Journal is published under the auspices of UTSePress, Sydney, Australia.

For more information go to

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


SICO is at the forefront in innovative mobile folding and rolling, space efficient tables, stages, dance floors and many other products which help our customers optimise their use of space. Image…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Venues



Founded in 1961, Myrtha Pools® quickly became Italy’s première swimming pool company, and has since grown into one of the world's leading swimming pool construction…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks / Wellness


Summit Fitness

Summit Fitness Equipment is now part of NovoFit - see

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Technology / Wellness



Vlocker Pty Ltd has been designing, manufacturing, installing and servicing locker systems worldwide since 1995. Vlocker specialises in providing locker solutions to suit client requirements in…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Safety / Security / Venues


Augmented Creative

Augmented Creative is an open organization of like-minded and highly dedicated, creative people who conceive, plan and execute visual solutions. We pursue new and innovative visual ideas to help…

read more

Arts / Attractions / Consultants / Design / Tourism



At EventPro Software, we are proudly different from our industry competitors. We have a development-driven culture and 20 years’ experience in event, venue, and catering management software,…

read more

Events / Hospitality / Technology / Ticketing / Venues



Sports Padding At Rae-Line we manufacture high quality sports padding, gym mats, foam mats and protective padding, suitable for a range of different facilities. Our sports padding is…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation / Safety / Sport


Otium Planning Group

Otium Planning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy providing services in planning, facility development, management and funding for the sport, recreation and leisure industries…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business