Governance of New Zealand national sport organisations : Pasifika and Māori voices : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Management, College of Business, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Pasifika and Maori New Zealanders have high player-participation rates in a number of national sports. However, there is scant research regarding ethno-cultural diversity in New Zealand sport organizations and none that accounts for Pasifika and Māori people’s experiences as board members. This research is the first formal attempt to review the governance involvement of Pasifika peoples in New Zealand sport. Specifically, the research aims to determine the current status of Pasifika and Māori within New Zealand sport governance roles in National Sports Organisations (NSOs). It seeks evidence of how many Pasifika and Māori are on NSO boards, and insights into the lived experiences of those board members. A mixed-method approach was carried out in two phases. Phase 1 (survey) sought to establish Pasifika and Māori people’s participation at a national level in high-level, decision making (governance roles), and to gain ‘outsider’ (CEO and/or Chairperson) perspectives of Pasifika and Maori board membership. Phase 2 interviews with Pasifika and Māori directors sought insights into how NSO board members of Pasifika and Maori descent gained their governance positions; their motivations for pursuing these positions; challenges faced; and factors which facilitate their recruitment, retention and development in governance roles. Analysis indicates that Pasifika and Māori representation on New Zealand NSO boards is low, and many sports organisations are without Pasifika and/or Māori directors. Pathways by which people of Pasifika and Māori descent gain and enter their governance positions are three-fold: family engagement; active participation in sport; and educational engagement. Pasifika and Māori board members also are found to face multiple challenges that are barriers to accepting governance roles. Challenges include ethno-cultural expectations concerning age, status and respect; not being fully integrated within the board; stereotyping and expectations; tokenistic appointments and a lack of Pasifika and Māori role models in sport governance roles. A case for board diversity in sport governance endorses the general case for more diverse boards. Sport New Zealand and NSOs need to establish policies and enact practices addressing the need for boards to reflect New Zealand society and/or participant profiles. Since the study’s findings challenge institutionalised practices within NSOs, and also present challenges to Pasifika and Māori families and communities, there are no simple, short term solutions as to how to gain greater Pasifika and Māori representation within New Zealand National Sporting Organisations boards.
Sports organisations, New Zealand, Sports administration, New Zealand, Sport governance, New Zealand, Board membership, Maori representation, Pacific Islander representation, Sports administration participation