Māori Sports

Whānau Pakari – Sport and Wellbeing Policy

Executive Summary

He Whānau Pakari e ora ai te tangata – Mai rā anō i te whitinga mai ki Aotearoa kua pakari te tīnana, te hinengaro me te wairua. Me hoki anō tātau kia tū hei whānau pakari, hei whānau ora.

The Māori Party acknowledges that exercise has been a big part of who we are, how we came here and how we would traverse the lands of Aotearoa. Māori invented many sports prior to European arrival. Running, Swimming, Fishing, Waka, Hunting, Kī o Rahi, Taiaha/Mau rakau/Te Whare Tū Taua, to name a few - all examples of a tūpuna mindset, an ancestral way of being and acting which we call – Whānau Pakari. The ability to exercise and strive for excellence. Whānau Pakari is part of our Oranga Tangata policy framework.

There is much to be taught and learnt from the navigators of our past and how we can use that mātauranga to sail and paddle our way into a future frame by Whānau Pakari. When there is commitment, dedication, and great support around Māori to achieve a high standard in sport, it is guaranteed that Māori will thrive.

Our ancestors were not just athletic they were also strategic thinkers with intentions to survive.  This all required, stamina, resilience, endurance, speed, agility, and logic. There is great opportunity to showcase the sporting talent of Māori on the world stage. Nurturing pathways for our mokopuna and tamariki to aspire to and offer pathways into education opportunities.

The Māori Party will;

1. Establish and fund a National Māori Sporting body, targeting Māori sporting codes and
sports with high Māori participation

2. Establish a $100M Whānau Pakari fund for 3-years to invest into Māori sporting codes

a. Funding Māori sporting academies that incorporate Whānau Pakari principles
b. Funding scholarships to ensure that barriers for Māori are eliminated and to allow their potential to shine
c. Funding iwi & hapū Pā Wars events
d. Upskilling volunteers and coaches in sporting codes with high Māori participation

3. Ensure that funds go directly to the regional Māori sporting codes for Māori, by Māori and not via regional sporting bodies

4. Ensure sporting codes with high Māori participation have Māori governing boards, allowing them to individually compete at world cup events as Aotearoa Māori

5. Provide a Māori Sports mentoring programme; delivering tertiary education opportunities & career pathways for life beyond the sporting field


In the early 19th century, Europeans bought new sports to NZ. Some became more popular with Māori than others. In 1883 Māori boxer Herbert Slade fought the American heavyweight champion in New York and lost but became a celebrity. Too often Māori have to travel to other countries to live to be recognised on the world stage. We want them to stay in their homeland and represent their country as tangata whenua of this country under the banner of Aotearoa Māori. In the early 20th century, Māori formed their own teams. Māori sporting associations were founded in various sports. The first official national Māori rugby team was selected in 1910 prior to George Nepia playing for the All Blacks. Rugby League and Hockey were other popular sports codes for Māori. From the 20th century, Golf, Cricket, Tennis, Hockey, netball, Touch rugby, Waka Ama, Football, Squash, Basketball & Golden Shears saw many Māori represent on the world stage. It is only through a coordinated Māori centred approach that we can revive collective and individual Māori success through Whānau Pakari.

Māori sporting codes have survived on pure grit and determination to keep these codes alive. You will often find a couple of parents who are key drivers that will more than likely be pulling money out of their own wallets to ensure theirs and other tamariki in their regions get to represent their codes and eliminate the financial burden. A specific Māori fund through Whānau Pakari will ensure those burdens are reduced heavily or eliminated. We cannot afford to lose our place in the sporting world. It has been quoted by some Māori that have represented on the world stage that if there was a Māori world stage team in their particular code that they would’ve wanted to represent in that team.

Our Māori boarding school pupils were high contributors to many of the sporting representation on the world stage. As the existence of such schools has declined so too has our representation. Nowadays, we have parents applying more than just sports to the game. These parents hold the young tamariki accountable, set goals, offer employment to get them giving back to the sport (coach, referee), up skill them and travel opportunities because they see the potential our Māori tamariki have. This is not exclusive to any particular Māori sporting code, you will find this in every Māori sporting code.

Too many of our tamariki miss the opportunities in sport because of the financial burden placed on their families will give up and turn to drugs and gangs. Sport is the alternative for many keeping them busy and offering them opportunities to travel and be better, see the world and give them the confidence our tamariki rightfully deserve in their own country.