Players report cultural insensitivity in NZ reviews

Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate plays for New Zealand
The review began after Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate spoke out about the mental health struggles of playing for New Zealand

New Zealand players reported culturally insensitive comments and were accused by coaches of “bias”, “ghosting” and “body shaming”.

The allegations were made as part of a cultural assessment by Black Ferns set up for New Zealand Rugby.

Review is activated after prostitute Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate said she had a mental breakdownExternal Links following comments attributed to head coach Glenn Moore.

Moore “committed” to learning and remaining head coach.

Defending champions New Zealand will host the World Cup later this year, with the first match taking place on October 8.

Ngata-Aerengamate posted an Instagram post on December 8, 2021 revealing her mental health struggles, shortly after an unsuccessful tour of Europe, where the defending champions to lost twice to both England and France.

The results of the review, published on Monday, showed that player concerns “were not isolated and that a number of other players (especially Maori or Pasifika players) experienced similar behavior by some members of management (‘bias’, ‘ghost’), cultural insensitivity), or have witnessed it”.

When asked why they didn’t complain about such behaviour, some said “they were worried it would adversely affect their chances of choosing”.

With about 50% of the factions being Maori and 25% Pasifika, the review says “more understanding is needed from management on how to communicate with these players in a culturally sensitive and safe manner.” “.

An unnamed player said: “There should be a selection of the best players, instead of [it] based on bias. “

The report added that focusing on weight measurements rather than strength and conditioning performance “may lead to some experience of body shaming”.

Other issues raised by the review include:

  • The reality is that there is “no clear or consistent high-performance vision, practice or mindset” for Black Ferns despite their five-time world champion.
  • After a 2017 report made similar findings, it was necessary to monitor the assessment results “so that they do not become ‘public relations’ exercises rather than vehicles for sustainable change”. .
  • Players are concerned about “not enough investment to understand how to coach women”.
  • Returning to competition after becoming pregnant, with one player saying it was “a very gray area”.

How has New Zealand rugby reacted?

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Mark Robinson apologized for “failing to provide all the tools for our people to succeed”.

Head Coach Moore said in a statementExternal Links that he will work towards “a high-achievement culture” that “achieves a healthy balance” between personal wellness and “the pressures that come from meeting expectations and competing at the level elite sport”.

In February, the regulator announced 29 professional contracts after part-time contracts were first introduced in 2018 and a semi-pro club competition kicked off the following month.

More recently, former All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith joined Black Ferns as technical coach.

NZR said it had accepted the “key themes and recommendations” of the review, and Robinson added: “No one should question our commitment to the growth of women’s rugby in this country.” .

“This report highlights that we didn’t get everything right.”

NZR said it would “create additional support and resources to focus on team culture and leadership” and emphasize “existing policies and new initiatives focused on health and fitness.” status of players and management”.

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