Wahine Māori elected to NZ Rugby Board

By Tamati Tiananga

Dr Farah Palmer of Ngāti Maniapoto is the first woman to be elected to the Board of New Zealand Rugby in 125 years. 

The three-time World Cup winning captain and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee takes on the role following the recent retirement of Maori Representative Wayne Peters.

Dr Farah Palmer says, “It feels wonderful to be there representing wahine and māori and I have always been passionate about rugby, so this to me felt like a natural progression.

“I have learnt a lot from him (Wayne Peters) in terms of his mana and his way and wish him all the best in his journey as he recovers.” 

The former Black Fern and current member of the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board was nominated by Manawatu Rugby Football Union and seconded by Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union before being unanimously elected by members of 26 Provincial Rugby Unions.   

Dr Palmer, who is a senior lecturer at Massey University’s School of Management says, “I have a different world view based on the fact that I have come from a different background, I have got a bit of understanding about Te Ao Māori and what that entails, but also the fact that I’m a woman and I see rugby from a different perspective.”  

Dr Palmer has already worked closely with former Chairman, Wayne Peters and NZR's management team to ensure Māori has a strong voice in the game.

In 1998 she was named Māori sportsperson of the year and in 2005 the International Rugby Board's Women's Personality of the Year.

She was also a member of the IRB Women's Advisory Committee and is a current independent member of the Māori Rugby Board.