Pacific Peoples Fono

The ITP held three fono in late 2023, two in Auckland and one in Wellington.

The fono were facilitated by Establishment Board member Tim Castle.

They were attended by representatives of the Samoan, Tongan and Fijian communities. Attendees were actively involved in rugby union (professional and community), rugby league, college and community sport, waka ama and tag football.

The sessions were an initial outreach to leaders in Pacific communities and sport and recreation bodies to inform them of the establishment process for the Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission and the drafting the Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation.

The ITP sought advice as to how the Commission might best establish meaningful and fruitful ongoing talanoa with Pacific Peoples.

The fono were also a chance for attendees to share their experiences of integrity in sport and recreation in Aotearoa.

Experiences / Impacts

Negative experiences of integrity in sport and recreation as Pacific People in Aotearoa included:

  • Racism and exclusion, particularly from coaching, management and governance roles.
  • Unfair judicial outcomes.
  • Lack of cultural consideration and understanding
  • Limited access to and awareness of funding opportunities

Engagement

There was a strong desire to have a seat at decision making tables in sports and recreation –

“if you are not at the table you are on the menu” – was one comment.

However, there was also a degree of scepticism. Pacific Peoples have attended many fono and expressed their views only to see little or no action result. This has resulted in a level of ‘engagement fatigue’.

The ITP was encouraged to:

  • Engage with Pacific Peoples through appointed leaders/representatives
  • Expand its outreach to include other Pacific Peoples including Tokelauan, Niuean and Cook Islands peoples.
  • Provide a ‘road map’ for future talanoa

The Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation

The Code was seen as a potentially useful tool for improving integrity. The ITP was told:

  • For the Code to be embraced it was vital Pacific Peoples had a chance to contribute to its design.
  • Implementation of the Code would be more effective if ‘delivered’ by Pacific Peoples (“people who look like us”) so as not to be perceived as being forced upon them by outsiders.
  • There was a specific concern the Commission might override practices and methods designed by Pacific Peoples’ organisations that were culturally appropriate and working well.

Cultural considerations

  • Complex inter-personal relationships can impact how integrity matters are dealt with by Pacific Peoples.
  • Talanoa with Pacific youth is vital as many younger Pacific People would have different perspectives from those of their parents due to having been born and raised in New Zealand.
  • An excessive focus on high performance outcomes in sport among Pacific People can be to the detriment of wider positive community outcomes.
  • There is additional pressure on Pacific youth to produce results in competitive sports due to the costs associated with providing them with opportunities, which can result in integrity issues arising.