Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Rugby, Pacific Peoples, and the Cultural Politics of National Identity in New Zealand

Rugby, Pacific Peoples, and the Cultural Politics of National Identity in New Zealand In the wake of his retirement from international rugby in 2006, Tana Umaga was feted as having ‘helped to change the face of New Zealand rugby and even New Zealand society’. Regardless of the veracity of such statements, as a one-time All Black captain Umaga is undoubtedly a persuasive political symbol in a country where rugby has near-religious import. He embodies New Zealand's journey from erstwhile British colony to pluralistic Pacific nation, and offers proof positive that equal opportunity is alive and at work. The question is, however, to what extent can Umaga really be taken as a bellwether of shifting racial and cultural politics in New Zealand? Certainly, while Pacific peoples have traditionally been regarded as misbegotten Kiwis, Umaga shows that they are ‘now part of mainstream New Zealand’. But, as a cultural construct, Umaga's identity is an unstable one. While he may have challenged the standard (mis)conceptions of race, ethnicity and national belonging in New Zealand, it would be erroneous to believe that he has escaped the labels and stereotypes endemic to popular racial discourse. Through Umaga I ask in this paper questions of exclusion and belonging, particularly as they relate to Pacific peoples in New Zealand. I argue that though rugby may offer a context where New Zealanders can engage on mutual terms, it gives lie to the fact that the acceptance of Pacific peoples as fully-fledged Kiwis is far from unanimous. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of the History of Sport Taylor & Francis

Rugby, Pacific Peoples, and the Cultural Politics of National Identity in New Zealand

23 pages

Loading next page...
 
/lp/taylor-francis/rugby-pacific-peoples-and-the-cultural-politics-of-national-identity-JKhYc5PV4l

References (153)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1743-9035
eISSN
0952-3367
DOI
10.1080/09523360903466776
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the wake of his retirement from international rugby in 2006, Tana Umaga was feted as having ‘helped to change the face of New Zealand rugby and even New Zealand society’. Regardless of the veracity of such statements, as a one-time All Black captain Umaga is undoubtedly a persuasive political symbol in a country where rugby has near-religious import. He embodies New Zealand's journey from erstwhile British colony to pluralistic Pacific nation, and offers proof positive that equal opportunity is alive and at work. The question is, however, to what extent can Umaga really be taken as a bellwether of shifting racial and cultural politics in New Zealand? Certainly, while Pacific peoples have traditionally been regarded as misbegotten Kiwis, Umaga shows that they are ‘now part of mainstream New Zealand’. But, as a cultural construct, Umaga's identity is an unstable one. While he may have challenged the standard (mis)conceptions of race, ethnicity and national belonging in New Zealand, it would be erroneous to believe that he has escaped the labels and stereotypes endemic to popular racial discourse. Through Umaga I ask in this paper questions of exclusion and belonging, particularly as they relate to Pacific peoples in New Zealand. I argue that though rugby may offer a context where New Zealanders can engage on mutual terms, it gives lie to the fact that the acceptance of Pacific peoples as fully-fledged Kiwis is far from unanimous.

Journal

International Journal of the History of SportTaylor & Francis

Published: Dec 1, 2009

There are no references for this article.