November 29, 2017
Culture encourages Maori rugby flair
A leading Maori sportswoman turned academic has confirmed cultural identity changes the way a team plays.
Dr Farah Palmer from Massey University’s School of Management teamed up with her colleague Dr Yusuke Kuroda in the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition to study the differences between the Maori All Blacks and the Japanese national team.
There have been previous studies looking at team motivation, but not at culture.
She says the Japanese seemed serious and structured, while the Maori team was playful.
"I had the opportunity to see the Japanese team in their environment and I tell you it was pretty scary walking into that team room. They were very serious. Everyone was in their track suits and looked exactly the same. There wasn’t any laughter going on and it was a pretty serious environment. Then you walk into the Maori All Blacks team room and everyone is having a laugh and singing and kind of got their individuality as well as being part of a collective so that was really fascinating," Dr Palmer says.
She says it wasn’t just genetics but that the Maori team has a history that encourages flair and spontaneity in its players.
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