Speaking the Unspoken: Racism, Sport and Maori

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By H. Raima Hippolite (Tainui, Whakatohea, Ngati Toa, Ngati Koata, Ngai Tahu, Nga Puhi) & Toni Bruce (Ngati Pakeha), University of Waikato, 2010

In this paper, we consider the silence that surrounds issues of racism in New Zealand sport. We argue that the intersection of two key ideologies New Zealands 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. Our 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.

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