Friday, June 25, 2004

The Place of Place: Geographical Indicators and Contemporary Maori Development

The modern food industry produces food in locations considerably distant from where consumption takes place. This involves a number of linkages, technologies and practices, wielded by various economic actors who are embedded in diverse social networks. The marketing of products in this context has linked the concept of food quality to ingredients, process and location. As the ultimate destination of food produce is the human gut where it is literally incorporated into our bodies, these are issues that resonate across all societies. Food that can be labeled as possessing quality – however this is defined - appeals to producers as a high-value commodity, and to consumers as possessing premium value, either as food or medicine, or as a social good.

In New Zealand, food exports have revolved around ‘pampering the palates of the prosperous’ of the developed world (Williams, 1993: 347). Quality and novelty are important characteristics of New Zealand horticulture, as is the wider image of a ‘clean and green’ environment. Given that the criteria for food quality are now re-embedded within local ecosystems, in what ways do “process and place” contribute value to New Zealand agri-food systems? What are the options for Maori growers in their attempts to develop their businesses?

This paper introduces the broad historical and legal contexts of geographical indicators, discusses several examples, and describes the leverage Maori have to enable truly valid social and ecological sustainability indicators to be met. It is hoped that hapu and iwi ventures can proceed with more insight into this unique and distinctly local expression of intellectual property as Maori return to global trading.

Agriculture is a highly contentious sector in international relations and its power to enroll emotional energy is unsurpassed. Governance appears to revolve between the ‘two towers’ of the modern nation-state and increasingly powerful supranational organisation such as the United Nations (UN) and its various agencies, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These organisations have (with some reservations among the UN bodies) identified free trade between nation-states as a vital means to enable human development. Regulating this trade is difficult and fraught, with concerns now expressed that trade barriers will be based on spurious environmental regulations (Kastner and Powell, 2002). Such pressures are also evident at the subnational level, with consumer pressure coming from various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), not least environmental NGOs as the Royal Forest and Bird Society have shown in recent headlines in New Zealand (Royal Forest and Bird Soc., 2004).

In the context of agri-food networks, the debate over the effects of globalisation generally fit into two opposing camps. The first accepts the forces of transnational capital and supranational neo-liberal agendas as overwhelming. The second disputes the helplessness of this position and seeks power and control – and importantly identity – in the regional and local (Le Heron, 1993; Ilbery and Kneafsey, 1999). The point of this paper is that this local identity can have a value beyond its contribution to any cultural diversity discourse. As such it is an important feature of the strategies available to disempowered groups who participate within agri-food networks.

Intellectual Property
The first patent laws were framed in Venice in the 15th century; their purpose was to entice foreign engineers by guaranteeing the rights to a 10 year monopoly on their work (Kaufer, 1980, cited in Dutfield, 2003). While this basic rationale remains, the areas in which this thinking can be applied have broadened considerably. Legislation that deals with IP is currently under review around the world as technology, especially within digital and genetic fields, advances beyond our regulatory abilities. (That they advance beyond our emotional abilities has also been noted, see McKibben, 2003). In New Zealand, various acts are under review that will impact upon the recognition and regulation of IP, notably the Digital Technology and Copyright Act, 1994, but law regarding patents in general and plant varieties in particular is being rewritten (Ministry of Economic Development, 2002a, 2002b). The Waitangi Tribunal is to report on rights of Maori to indigenous plants and animals (the Wai 262 claim), a report that may have major implications for the management of iwi and hapu resources (Williams, 2001).

The most significant international agreement is the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that was negotiated in the 1986-94 Uruguay Round. TRIPS introduced intellectual property (IP) regulation into the multilateral trading system for the first time. Figure 1 outlines the various categories of these property rights which originate in the concept of intellectual activity as ‘labour’, and the consequent outputs as ‘property’ (May, 2000). This paper will only deal with Geographical Indicators although all aspects of IP will impact upon Maori.

Fig. 1: The major types of intellectual property (Source: White and Griffiths, 2003:305)

Intellectual Property Rights
1. Unregistered rights
Trade Secrets
Passing Off
Industrial Designs

2. Registered Rights
Plant Variety Rights
Geographical Indicators

Geographical Indicators
A Geographical Indicator (GI) is a ‘label’ used to draw explicit links between the qualities and/or reputation of a good (often food or drink) and its place of production. Commonly it is the name of the location that is the GI, for example ‘Champagne’ refers only to that type of sparkling wine manufactured in the province of Champagne, France (similar wines outside of the province can be labelled ‘Methode Champagne’ or ‘Methode traditionale’, read the Lindauer label at your next party!). The importance attached to 'Old World' food and drink production, drawing on a long history of artisan or craft production, is an obvious result of the predominance of European thought and influence. This has been challenged by the United States and other developed countries (including New Zealand) in an effort to legitimate ‘generic’-style labelling.

It is my contention that Maori have much in common with these ‘old-school’, local food and drink producers in the ex-colonial nations of Europe. These producers simply wish to maintain their ancient traditions while supplying global markets, making a profit from their ancestral biotic resources, techniques and reputation. The actual TRIPS wording is enticing as it seeks to codify something immanent within the land: the goods or produce are deigned to possess value that is ‘essentially attributable’ to the geographic origin (Bellum et al., 2003: 197). In other words, the very location - its soil and environs - enables unique (and somehow high quality) produce to be made. Of course such a concept is problematic from a scientific point of view, however it is not the intent of this paper to engage in a critique of the scientific arena. Rather I wish to introduce the concept of geographic indicators as yet another means by which hapu and iwi agricultural and horticultural ventures can add value to their produce.

Brand Aotearoa/New Zealand
What examples are there from within Aotearoa/New Zealand of this method of labelling? First lets admit that New Zealand itself is treated as a brand by our own government-funded bodies, epitomised by Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) with the label ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ that features in international and domestic ad campaigns (Morgan, et al., 2002). Easy access to the fabled ‘outdoors’ is recognised as a major drawcard for (high-spending) tourists, as are the postcard qualities of the ‘Clean Green Image’ (cursed with its own three-letter-acronym, CGI). Recognition of this national ‘resource’ has led to calls for better monitoring of the environment from across the political spectrum, although huge differences exist between how such a resource should be administered (see Gillespie, 1998, for a description of the split between Maori and environmentalists).

While the foundation for this image may be the natural environment, Maori culture is also incorporated, as are some of New Zealand’s historical icons, notably the All Blacks and the ‘Silver Fern’, which have been subject to sophisticated marketing campaigns. In perhaps the best example, Jackson and Hokowhiti (2002) describe the role that the haka ‘Ka mate’ plays in the global marketing of adidas’™. What relevance does all of the above have for Maori horticulture? Is such a phenomena – essentially the appropriation of something called 'added value' from land and its produce – something that Maori should embrace, or should we run the proverbial country mile.

Branding Maori
Concerns over intellectual property issues expressed by Maori seem to be lie primarily within patent/copyright/trademark tradition, although Plant Variety Rights feature in the Wai 262 claim. In February 2002 a trademark was created by Creative New Zealand to ‘maintain the integrity’ of Maori art, and to assist in promoting this art and recognised artists nationally and internationally. The toi iho™ trademark marks a significant development in Maori IP. The mark is restricted to works by artists (individuals or groups) who are of Maori descent and whose work is of acknowledged quality (Creative NZ, 2004). The trademark is in many ways a response to Maori embarrassment and anger at blatant ‘rip offs’ in the tourism industry but should equally be interpreted as efforts by ‘Brand NZ Inc.’ to secure added value production for the New Zealand economy.

As in Europe, it is the wine and gourmet foods sectors that provide the most sophisticated examples. Tohu Wines has proven a successful brand for Wakatu Inc./Wi Pere Trust/Ngati Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust to market $4 million of wine, principally to U.K. and U.S. consumers (Tohu Wines, 2004). In the words of James Wheeler, CEO, the main point of difference for their marketing is “being Maori…it makes their experience of our product superior” (Anon, 2003: 25). The attributes of ‘freshness’ and ‘naturalness’ have been attached to other Maori agri-food ventures, often embedded in organic practices; seafood is a significant example, especially in the South Island. Medicinal products stemming from traditional herbal remedies also feature; Tairawhiti Pharmaceuticals have commercially developed a product based on manuka oil that is unique to the region (Cooper, 1995; Cooke and Cooke, n.d.; Tairawhiti Pharmaceuticals, 2004). It is becoming apparent that ‘Maoriness’ is a component of added value, not just for the country as an ‘eco-destination’, but for individual hapu and iwi land-based ventures.

My reasoning for explicitly connecting hapu and iwi land-based industries to what is now a global intellectual property regime via Geographical Indicators is based on sustainability theories that likewise link local communities – their biotic resources and knowledge thereof, as well as lifestyles and livelihoods – to global sustainability, i.e. the actual continuation of human civilisation (with the presumed added benefit of increasing social justice along the way; see Goodman and Redclift, 1991; Berkes et al., 2003). My position is also based on a pragmatic realisation that while it is easy to clench a fist against global capitalism, it’s very hard to turn down extra money when this thing called moni solves so many mundane problems.

The continued growth of cultural and agricultural industries will see ongoing contests for property rights, not just over physical resources but for the ephemeral concepts of intellectual property; the phenomenon has been termed yet another ‘enclosure’ of a global commons (May, 2000). These contests are played out along extended networks that incorporate both social and technical elements. For indigenous peoples, these ‘sociotechnical’ networks have always been difficult to negotiate from a position that is in many ways subversive to state and corporate organisations from the outset. Although concerns ranging from access to markets and trade disparities to food safety and social justice issues, affect and afflict people of all nations, the negative impacts fall disproportionately on the poor. This is a challenge to Maori development that is geared towards that great Brand Kiwi tradition, pampering the puku of the global rich (see Ingrid D. Rowland's review of Feast: A History of Grand Eating by Roy Strong for an insight into the global history of this bioculture...)

That both cultural and biological diversity present themselves as not only desirable but necessary for the long-term survival of the human race underpins important discourses on sustainability. The philosophical position on the appropriation of wealth from the sheer novelty of indigenous food and drink is worthy of more serious discussion. The opportunity for indigenous land owners anywhere to state their commitment to sustainable methods cannot be denied. If this commitment can then justify a premium price in a global market - given that a global aesthetic as well as simple survival is dependent on economically marginal peoples - that is to be applauded.

Anonymous, 2003 ‘Tohu Wines Maori Marketing Success’ Trademark, June/July 2003: 24-25.
Bellum, C., Dutfield, G., Melandez-Ortiz, R. 2003 Trading in Knowledge: Development Perspectives on TRIPS, Trade and Sustainability, London: Earthscan Publications.
Berkes, F., Colding, J. and Folke, C. (eds) 2003 Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, xxi, 393 pp.
Cooke, A. and Cooke, M.D. nd ’An investigation into the Antimicrobial Properties of Manuka and Kanuka Oil’, Cawthron Report No. 263: Prepared for Tairawhiti Pharmaceuticals.
Cooper, C. 1995 ‘Iwi-owned firm exports manuka oils’ The Independent, May 5, 1995, p14.
Creative New Zealand, 2004 Toi iho ‘FAQ’s’ website (accessed June 19th, 2004).
Gillespie, A. 1998 'Environmental Politics in New Zealand/Aotearoa: Clashes and Commonality Between Maoridom and Environmentalists' New Zealand Geographer, Vol. 54 (1): 19-25.
Goodman, D. and Reclift, M. 1991 Refashioning Nature: Food, Ecology and Culture, xviii, 279 pp.
Kastner, J. and Powell, D. 2002 ‘The SPS Agreement: Addressing historical factors in trade dispute resolution’ Agriculture and Human Values, Vol. 19 (4): 283-292.
Ilbery, B and Kneafsey, M. 1999 ‘Niche markets and regional specialty food products in Europe: Towards a research agenda’ Environment and Planning A, Vol. 31: 2207-2222.
Jackson, S.J. and Hokowhitu, B. 2002 ‘Sport Tribes and Technology: The New Zealand All Blacks Haka and the Politics of Identity’ Journal of Sport and Social Issues Vol. 26 (2): 125-139.
Kaufer, E. 1980 The Economics of the Patent System, Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers, cited in Dutfield, G. 2003 The Intellectual Property Rights and the Life Sciences: A 20th century history, Aldershot: Ashgate.
Le Heron, R. 1993 Globalised Agriculture: Political Choice, Pergamon Press: Oxford, xiv, 235 pp.
May, C. 2000 A Global Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights: The New Enclosures? London: Routledge, 200 pp.
McKibben, B. 2003 Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, Times Books, Henry Holt and Co.; New York, xiii; 271 pp.
Ministry of Economic Development, 2002a Review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987: A Discussion Paper, Wellington, vi, 34 pp.
Ministry of Economic Development, 2002b Review of the Patents Act 1953: Boundaries to Patentability: A Discussion Paper, Wellington, viii, 65 pp.
Morgan, N., Pritchard, A. and Piggot, R. 2002 ‘New Zealand, 100% Pure: The creation of a powerful niche destination brand’ Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 9 (4/5): 335-354.
Royal Forest And Bird Protection Society 2004 ‘Fishing industry challenged to ‘pull up its stocks’ 3rd June 2004, (accessed 16th June, 2004).
Tairawhiti Pharmaceuticals, 2004, website (Accessed June 20th, 2004).
Tohu Wines, 2004 website (accessed 21st June, 2004).
White, B. and Griffiths, T. 2003 ‘Intellectual Property’ pp 305-321 in Dawson, J. and Peart, N. (eds) The Law of Research: a guide, Dunedin: University of Otago Press.
Williams, D.V. 2001 Matauranga Maori and Taonga: The Nature and Extent of Treaty Rights held by Iwi and Hapu (regarding) Indigenous Flora and Fauna, Cultural Heritage Objects, Valued Traditional Knowledge, Waitangi Tribunal Report, 168 pp.
Williams, M. 1993 ‘Effects of public perceptions and global market strategy on the development of biological control technology in New Zealand’ New Zealand Journal of Zoology, Vol. 20: 347-356.

Monday, June 14, 2004

‘Indigenous Research Ethics and Agro-ecological Development: Raising the IRE in Biotechnology Transfer’

Paper presented to the Matauranga Tuku Iho Tikanga Rangahau/Traditional Knowledge and Research Ethics Conference, Te Papa, June 10th-12th, 2004.

Although biotechnology has been an integral component of human history, contemporary research now operates with a precision and level of expertise that marks a significant break from previous understanding. By enabling the manipulation of the basic ‘building blocks’ of life, biotechnology sciences have had profound impacts in the humanities, including challenges to property rights, economic strategy, research and development policy, and – not least - ethics. In this context, previously isolated eco-social groups have experienced increasing contact and exchange as both purposeful and accidental transfers of biotic components occurs, and the potential for ‘recombination’ (of DNA, agricultural landscapes, political economies and ecosystems) has dramatically increased.

These new technologies and methods have provoked wide concern as well as hope and excitement. This last point is driven by the coincidence of two developments - advanced biotechnologies and the completion of a 'sociotechnosphere' in which novelty is a commodity. These developments infer two fundamental resources upon indigenous peoples, revolving around biotic and cultural concepts of capital. This paper examines the interplay of agro-ecological and cultural development as it effects the participation of Maori in local and global genetic information networks, and seeks to extend our ethical participation. It does this by locating significant sites in the utilisation of genetic information, thereby identifying the relevant ecosocial institutions to which Maori belong and with whom we should engage.

Key words: biotechnology, ethics, agri-business, Maori development, Plant Genetic Resources.

While the reliance of humankind on biotic resources is axiomatic, their actual utilisation is the focus of disputes within and between societies. In this regard, New Zealand shares a common history with a small group of countries characterised by extensive 19th century white-settler small farm agro-ecology (Fairweather, 1985). This beginning has seen an ongoing commitment to a generic assemblage of crops and an associated array of cultivation methods, supplied to increasingly environmentally conscious markets. The phylogenic basis of New Zealand’s land-based industries is around 50 species, with just 28 accounting for 99% of cultivated land by area (Halloy, 1994).

Maori participation in this 'biopolitical-economy' of New Zealand has been problematic from the outset of post-contact experiences. By occupying a multiplicity of niches within European thought and capitalist production, Maori have struggled to regain the initiative in self-determination. The Maori economic base is heavily dependent on biotic resources, predominantly agricultural commodities (see Table 1). Much of this is committed to export, resulting in many iwi and hapu ventures being overly exposed to market volatility and environmental change (Te Puni Kokiri, 2002; NZIER, 2003).

Table 1: Maori Commercial Asset Base (c. 2000-2002):

Sector value (1) % % Maori prod.(2)
Agriculture $3,074m 59% 36% ($700m)
Fisheries $671m 13% 16% ($299m)
Forestry $501m 10% 2% ($43m)
Business $945m 18%
$5,191m 100%

1. Although returns were improved for the financial year 2000, much of this is attributable to favourable climatic conditions and the depreciation of the New Zealand currency (Te Puni Kokiri, 2002: 18).
2. NZIER (2003: 9). NB: this table is based on two separate sources and is indicative only.

State-induced research (via government and industry-backed institutes such as the recently established Centres’ for Research Excellence) explicitly acknowledges two things. The first is that a vibrant future for New Zealand's economy requires adopting and innovating new technologies. Much of this still focuses on the country's biotic resources, although with the now ubiquitous proviso that it be ‘sustainable’. The second is that Maori have a role in processes by which this is to be achieved, explicitly in calls for research and development to be responsive to Maori.

Implicit in this is that Maori be responsive to research. This paper argues that if a robust ethical framework is desired, then the potential(s) of modern biotechnology and their fundamental elements must be identified. To summarise, New Zealand's economy - and Maori disproportionately so - is increasingly dependent on sustainable agricultural and horticultural production and the novel marketing of the resulting produce in a global market. Maori must be able to recognise the implications of research that utilises the genetic information implicit in biotic resources. While some attention has been given to indigenous flora (culminating in the Wai 262 Claim, see Harris and Kapoor, 1990; McLean and Smith, 2001; Williams, 2001), the reliance on introduced species is rarely noted (see however Roskruge, 2001, and Halloy, 1994). The ethical implications of the reliance of agri-biotechnology research and development processes on Plant Genetic Resources have now reached the fullest global reach that was first 'promised' in 1492 by the great Colombian exchange (Crosby, 1986).

Biotechnology, Ecosociality, and Aotearoa/New Zealand
Technology is a broad term, the defining characteristic of which is that it is never really complete. Ferré (1988: 1) refers to the 'technosphere' - the space touched or reached by human artifacts that stretches from several miles below the earth's surface or sea-level to many hundreds of thousands of kilometers above the atmosphere. This technosphere is comprised of many interrelated sociotechnical systems that enable ‘the linkage of techniques and material culture to the socio-coordination of labour’ (Pfaffenberger, 1992: 497). This is best understood as an activity system that involves a wide range of decision-making processes and various communities, both professional and lay.

Looking into Ferre’s technosphere we observe a mass of biotic and components whose interaction can be said to form a ‘genosphere’. This phenomenon has a history that increasingly revolves around manipulation by a highly advanced genotype – Homo sapiens. In this world, as David Harvey reminds us, any ecological debate is always a commentary on political-economic organisation (Harvey, 1996). Kloppenburg (1988) and Lyson (2002), among others, have argued that the advanced techniques now available to agricultural researchers are analogous to the reductionist nature of neoclassical economics and provide the framework for turning the traits of plants and livestock into property. As perhaps the most rapidly advancing technology, biology is drawn into the political arena as biodiversity fractures into variously valued resources while remaining a fundamental component of sustainability.

Criticism of modern biotechnology has two main planks. The first stems from the inherent reductionism alluded to above that sees researchers accused of ignoring or seriously underestimating the actual complexities of its subject matter. This criticism extends the analogy of frontier science - a complex research area that is subject to rapid changes in understanding – to ‘cowboy’ scientists that dismiss or ignore the possibilities of negative environmental impacts (Ho, 1998). The second criticism concerns its relevance, with accusations that this technology seeks to provide answers ‘to a false set of questions’ (Campbell, 2000: 32). In many respects this echoes the first criticism by drawing attention to the obscurity of processes by which genetic engineering (GE) or modification (GM) is to deliver on (the originally hyperbolic) promises. These concerns have coalesced into an array of political movements that are vociferously opposed to such techniques, particularly in the food chain and in the area of human reproduction where advances now challenge what it means to be human (Mauron, 2001; McKibben, 2003). The domain of ecosociality is facing unique challenges that call for creative debate. In this context, genetic reductionism can be subverted, exposing moral and ethical choices within a political-economic framework: who gets what?

These observations highlight the unique position of Maori in the literature on indigenous peoples and technology which is dominated by case studies that examine the often extreme disparities of knowledge and power evident in technology transfer in developing countries where indigenous groups maintain (not necessarily through choice) a much more separate existence. The research arena has thrown up a number of subdisciplines that include access to Appropriate Technology (AT), the role of Indigenous Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and the political alliances between indigenous communities and environmentalists (see Willoughby, 1990; Berkes et al., 1995; Gillespie, 1998).

Briefly then, technology can be defined as a process (incorporating political economic and socio-cultural elements as well as scientific institutions) that crystallizes into things, but only with effort. The point of this paper is that the most valuable of these 'things' - the material outcomes of large-scale, interdisciplinary research and development projects - are increasingly biotic in character, challenging assumptions within those networks that New Zealand’s economy (and with it Maori) operates. The survival of eco-social institutions in this context is perhaps more remarkable than their initial establishment. In what ways could advancing biotechnologies force change on the ecosocial institutional context within which hapu and iwi ventures exist? Although the potential of modern biotechnologies has yet to be clearly characterised, it is increasingly clear that the 'public' or lay communities hold a nuanced position (Marris et al. 2001). In order to identify where such challenges might originate for Maori, two models are presented as attempts to describe the arena in which conflicting interests interact.

Model I: Tracking Genetic Information.
The first model presents the utilisation of genetic information as a number of stages involving various specialties, not all of which necessarily use or require the presence of genetic material. These stages provide a useful analytical tool as shown in Figure 1. Such a framework needs also to be situated within the macro agro-ecological context of Aotearoa/New Zealand: what ecosocial groupings to Maori belong to and engage with? From this we can identify relevant biotic resources and their threats, and (because biodiversity is genetic diversity) begin understanding the extended networks of genetic information to which we belong and utilise.

Although space precludes in-depth analysis, the following attempts to reflect the current situation in New Zealand, a situation that is primarily a consequence of the white-settler farming history alluded to earlier. For example, the pastoral history initiated by colonisation means that forage plants are the single most important Plant Genetic Resource (PGR) for the New Zealand economy. Although some native species do contribute to pastures in areas of low fertility, preferred species are exotic (Warmington et al., 1996). Their value lies with their fundamental contribution to the livestock industry, again a range of exotic species (primarily Eurasian in origin, see Diamond, 1997) that have been bred for various qualities revolving around meat and fibre.

Fig. 1. The utilisation of genetic material
Stage Disciplines Examples

Identification and Collection fieldwork, taxonomy, GIS,Te Kete a Tini Rauhanga (1) bioinformatics, ethnobotany, gastric cancer research (2)

Storage and Maintenance ex situ conservation,Lake Waikaremoana Hapu
engineering, public sector Restoration Trust (3)
management, in situ preservation Rene Orchiston collection(4)

Trade and Transfer corporate affairs, trade negotiations, Te Hikoi mai o te kumara(5)

Research and Development genomics, proteomics, traditional ornamental development (6)
breeding, software design, marketing eg Hebe & Phormium spp.

1. A research project in collaboration with Crop and Food, funded by FRST ($960,000) to investigate rongoa Maori (native medicinal plants), headed by Dr Meto Leach and Hohepa Kereopa (Ngai Tuhoe).
2. Research lead by Dr. Parry Guilford into the relevant genes for a type of gastric cancer was conducted using a Maori family (see Guilford, et al., 1998).
3. A 10-year project investigating the decline of kiwi at Waikaremoana, a collaboration between Manaaki Whenua, DoC and tangata whenua.
4. Held by Manaaki Whenua and originating with 50 cultivars of harakeke/Phormium. Now known as the National New Zealand Flax Collection.
5. A hikoi by kaumatua to Japan in 1988, led by Del Wihongi, to seek the return of 9 varieties of kumara ‘delivered’ to Japanese researchers in 1969 following concerns of maintaining the collection in New Zealand.
6. Extensive collections are in private ownership, both overseas and domestically.

Securing these industries, let alone actually advancing them, will require ongoing experimentation with genetic recombination, driven by both the need for market novelty and sustainability in an increasingly changeable environment. Although valuable collections of globally important PGR exist in New Zealand (particularly of apple and kiwifruit germplasm), international collaboration must continue in what has been described as the Red Queen race, after that character in Alice in Wonderland who must run to stand still (Swanson, 1998). Maori are members of the very same ecosocial interactions as non-Maori, both in Aotearoa/New Zealand and overseas, that engage in the utilisation of similar genetic parcels of flora and fauna.

Model II: Mapping Genetic ResourcesThe following diagram attempts to broadly reflect the theorised markets of relevance to iwi and hapu ventures, by which I mean not so much the place (although physical locations certainly exist) but the scale of management, the nature and extent of networks within which genetic information could be expected to travel (Fig. 2). Such ‘business’ does not necessarily rely on the actual presence of genetic material but may revolve around the legal right to claim royalties from use of historical germlines or patented techniques. No deeper analysis is attempted here although there is an ever-expanding range of complex interests acting to secure or utilise genetic information. Some institutions may act to support private biotic interests in order to secure indirect economic benefits, e.g. the provision of publicly funded biosecurity for industry or sectoral interests by government agencies. Further, there could be great emotional security provided to the individual by the provision of relatively simple DNA identification.

This second model highlights the difficulty that any disempowered community would face in engaging on an equal footing those institutions that control aspects of development needed for self-determination. First there are the usual disparities, in knowledge, power, support. Secondly, there is now global extent of control and influence over an increasingly strategic resource, variously declared a global commons or the property of nation-states, corporations or indigenous peoples. Access to PGR have been blocked before (to 'the usual suspects', enemies of the 'West', see Querol, 1993; Frankel, 1988: 29), local communities continue to experience biopiracy, and the illicit trade in rare organisms continues (Gower, 2004). This model describes a genosphere where access to and benefits from genetic information is dominated by nation-states over sub-national communities, multinational corporations over local businesses, or supranational organisations over democratically elected legislative bodies.

Fig 2. Market scales
Increasing scale
of market

Development Fonterra (1)
Margot Forde Germplasm Centre (2)
Landcare (3)

Trade & transfer MAF Biosecurity (4)

Maintenance ESR (5)
& Storage National Testing Centre (6)
Otari Native Botanic Garden (7)

Collection &
Increasing Scale of Ownership
individual community state global
firm corporate

1. Fonterra is engaged in a number of projects that involve genetic information although thus far they have disavowed genetic modification in their research (Dann, 2004).
2. Est. 1930s, based in Palmerston North and maintained by AgResearch. Holds approx. 60,000 seed samples (mainly grasses and legumes). 1,500 spp/58 plant families including 18,000 varieties of white clover. An important genebank for New Zealand land-based industries.
3. Landcare maintain the largest herbarium in New Zealand, containing over 500,000 specimens, representing NZ and the South Pacific.
4. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests administers the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms Act (1996) and is the lead government agency in the implementation of Biosecurity strategy.
5. Environmental Science Research hold approx. 40,000 human DNA samples for criminal profiling (Source: Courtney, 2004: A15)
6. Stores the majority of human DNA samples collected in NZ (from newborns), numbering around two million samples. Owned and managed by the Auckland District Health Board (Source: Courtney, 2004: A15).
7. A significant reserve dedicated to NZ native plants. Established in 1906, it covers 75 hectares and is implicated in two (now amalgamated) Waitangi Tribunal claims, no.’s 145 and 474.

Like other agri-business participants, Maori are committed to a global network whose purpose is to effect the development and implementation of a range of strategies involving the utilisation of genetic information. This immediately locates us with other beneficiaries of global trade in PGR, a trade that has been criticised as theft by many indigenous groups. While Maori can effectively avoid blame, this paper presents a case for acknowledging where we have benefit from inherited genetic information, and including those dissenting ecosocial institutions within our network of participants.

The sources of vulnerability and the means to attain resilience are multi-scalar, involving linkages to new locations (and therefore previously unknown ecosocial institutions) as well as altering the relationship with historically connected locations (via advancing technologies) and challenging existing ecosocial institutions. Conceptually, significant locations could be mapped by tracing the relevant genetic information, its origins, threats to access or even the survival of viable germplasm, and contradictory interests in its actual or perceived properties, and so on. The ethical and moral issues attendant on the identification, collection, storage, maintenance, trade, transfer, research and (all going well!) socially just development must also be acknowledged. Model I presents a template for tracking where such obligations might exist, which can be only the first step in truly successful development; Model II describes nothing more than the obvious, that as a resource (in this case genetic information) increases in value, its control will be sought and amalgamated by more powerful players.

Marx claimed that ‘the tradition of the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the minds of the living’. By this he meant the constraints of previously solid institutions that were neither willing nor able to aid the ‘revolutionary transformation’ of people and their environments in ‘the creation of something which does not yet exist.’ (cited in Harvey, 1996: 94). Challenges to existing ecosocial institutions, whether Maori or non-Maori, local, national or global, result from and contribute to change and that is evident in the utilisation of genetic information. The 'best practice' (i.e. ethical) ecosocial arrangements cannot yet exist, and their development will require broader sources of input than has been apparent so far.

Notwithstanding the cultural heritage and emotional connections to indigenous flora and fauna (an aspect of Aotearoa/New Zealand that is also claimed by pakeha) the resilient development of Maori agri-business is increasingly dependent on advanced technology and improved marketing that is global in extent. Like pakeha, Maori are entwined within the neoliberal-ordered exchange of commodities and must be cognisant of supranational regulations concerning, among other things, production methods, marketing labels and intellectual property that explicitly uses ‘culture-tags’. International traders must also be aware of their target market's idiosyncrasies that will include moral and ethical judgements. By engaging in modern agri-food business, Maori are complicit in the appropriation and manipulation of genetic information that is generally held (ex situ or in situ), maintained and disseminated according to rational, capitalist demands. Let Maori be proactive in defining the debate. Our complicity needs to be acknowledged, if for no other reason than to raise the IRE in future agri-biotechnology research.

Berkes, F., Folke, C. and Gadgil, M. ‘Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Biodiversity, Resilience and Sustainability’ pp 281-299 in Perrings, C., Maler, K.G., Folke, C., Holling, C.H. and Jansson, B.O. (eds) Biological Diversity, Kluwer.
Brown, D. 2004 ‘The Whare as Exhibition’ pp 65-79 in Smith, A. and Wevers, L. (eds) On Display: New Essays in Cultural Studies, Victoria University Press.
Campbell, H. 2000 'Between Abstract Promise and Concrete Reality: Will GM Feed the Third World?', pp 32-43 in Davis, R. (ed) Will the ENZ Justify the Genes Proceedings from the Symposium on the Ethics of Genetic Engineering, August 2000, Capital City Forum, Joint Methodist Presbyterian Public Questions Committee: Wellington.

Courtney, D. 2004 ‘Who’s in charge of the DNA bank?’ The Press, April 28th, 2004, A15.

Crosby, A.W. 1986 Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, xiv; 368 pp.

Dann, L. 2004 ‘Putting a toe in the GM pool’ NZ Herald, May 14th, 2004.

Diamond, J. 1997 Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Fairweather, J. R. 1985 ‘White-Settler Colonial Development: Early New Zealand Pastoralism and the Formation of Estates’ The Australian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 21(2): 237-257.
Ferre, F. 1988 The Philosophy of Technology, Prentice Hall: Eaglewood Cliff, New Jersey, x, 147 pp.
Frankel, O.H. 1988 ‘Genetic resources: Evolutionary and Social Responsibilities’ Chapter 1 of Kloppenburg, J. (ed) Seeds and Sovereignty: The Use of Control of Plant Genetic Resources, Durham: Duke University Press.
Gillespie, A. 1998 'Environmental Politics in New Zealand/Aotearoa: Clashes and Commonality Between Maoridom and Environmentalists' New Zealand Geographer, Vol. 54 (1): 19-25.

Gower, P. 2004 ‘Czech politician questions case after meeting orchid smugglers for a beer’ NZ Herald, February 16th, 2004.

Guildford, P., Hopkins, J., Harraway, J., McLeod, M., McLeod, N., Harawire, P., Taite, H., Scoular, R., Miller, A. and Reeve, A.E. 1998 ‘E-cadherin germline mutations in familial gastric cancer’ Nature, Vol 392 (6674): 402-405.
Halloy, S. 1994 ‘Long term trends in the relative abundance of New Zealand agricultural plants’, pp 125-142 in Fletcher, D.J. and Manly, B.F.J. (eds) Statistics in Ecology and Environmental Monitoring, Otago Conference Series 2, Dunedin: University of Otago Press, vii, 269 pp.

Hancock, J.F. 2004 Plant Evolution and the Origin of Crop Species, 2nd edition, Wallingford: CABI Publishers.

Harris, W. and Kapoor, P. (eds) 1990 Nga Mahi Maori o te Wao Nui a Tane: Contributions to an International Workshop on Ethnobotany, Botany Division, DSIR: Christchurch.

Harvey, D. 1996 Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference, Blackwell Publishers.
Ho, M. 1998 Genetic Engineering: Dream or Nightmare?, Gateway.
Kloppenburg, J.R. (ed) 1988 Seeds and Sovereignty: The Use and Control of Plant Genetic Resources Duke University Press: Durham, 368 pp.
Lyson, T.A. 2002 ‘Advanced agricultural biotechnologies and sustainable agriculture’ Trends in Biotechnology Vol 20(5): 193-196.

Marris, C., Brian Wynne, B., Peter Simmons, P., Weldon, S., Cárceres. J., De Marchi, B., Klinke, A., Lemkow, L., Pellizzoni, L., Pfenning, U., Renn, O., and Sentmartí, R., 2001 Public Perceptions of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Europe. Also known as the PABE Report, Dec. 2001, Commission of European Communities.

Massey News 2003 ‘Hui unearths taewa potential’, Massey News, Issue 11,
Mauron, A. 2001 ‘Is the Genome the secular equivalent of the soul?’ Science, Vol. 291: 831-832.
McLean, R.A. and Smith, T 2001 The Crown and Flora and Fauna: Legislation policies and practices, 1983-98 Waitangi Tribunal, 760 pp.
McKibben, B. 2003 Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, Times Books, Henry Holt and Co.; New York, xiii; 271 pp.

New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (Inc.) 2003 Maori Economic Development/Te Ohanga Whaneketanga Maori, Wellington (A Report prepared for Te Puni Kokiri).

Posey, D.A. and Dutfield, G. 1996 Beyond Intellectual Property: Toward Traditional Resource Rights for Indigenous peoples and Local Communities, International Development Resource Centre: Ottawa.

Querol, D. 1993 Genetic resources: a practical guide to their conservation [Other title Recursos geneticos] London; New Jersey: Zed Books; Penang, Malaysia: Third World Network.

Roskruge, N. 2001 'Taewa Maori: Their Management and Commercial Viability' in Howard, M. L. & H. Moller (eds.) He Minenga Whakatü Hua o Te Ao, Murihiku Marae 25 – 27 August 2000. Online at
Swanson, T. 1998 ‘The source of Genetic Resource Values and the reasons for their management’ pp 67-81 ion Evenson, R.E., Gollin, D. and Sananiello, V. Agricultural Values of Plant Genetic Resources,
Te Puni Kokiri 2002 Maori in the New Zealand Economy 3rd edition June 2002, Wellington.
Warmington, B., Cole, G. and King, G. 1996 Conservation and Use of Plant Genetic Resources: National Report for New Zealand June 1996 Wellington: Ministry of Agriculture.

Williams, D.V. 2001 Matauranga Maori and Taonga: The Nature and Extent of Treaty Rights held by Iwi and Hapu (regarding) Indigenous Flora and Fauna, Cultural Heritage Objects, Valued Traditional Knowledge, Waitangi Tribunal Report.
Willoughby, K.W. 1990 Technology Choice: A Critique of the Appropriate Technology Movement, Westview Press: Boulder & San Francisco, xii, 350 pp.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Annotated Bibliography of Maori Horticulture

This bibliography is a work in progress. Texts are collated under broad categories and in chronological order of initial publishing. Iwi and hapu names are noted in parenthesis to aid those who are interested in their own tribal history, or in regional geohistory. If anyone has any suggestions (and from any discipline), please send them in.

1. Historical

Savage, J. 1807/1973 Some Account of New Zealand, Capper Press, 110 pp.
A short but incisive memoir with some general observations of Maori agriculture. Savage noted the extensive diffusion of the (wild) cabbage ‘so general [in Northland] …that you would suppose it an indigenous plant of the country.’ As produce marketers, Maori are credited ‘…with all the dexterity of a Jewish or Christian dealer.’

Swainson, W. 1859/1997 New Zealand and its Colonization, Kiwi Publishers, 416 pp.
Brief and unsourced notes on the establishment and success of Maori agri-industry (pp 65-66).

Best, E. 1976 [1925] Maori Agriculture: The Cultivated Food Plants of the Natives of New Zealand, with some account of Native Methods of Agriculture, its Ritual and Origin Myths, Dominion Museum Bulletin, No. 9.
A standard text on the subject although more an uncritical collection of other writers notes and observations, of which an extensive array are presented. Perhaps this work could most charitably be considered a rather good collation of many Maori words, offered from a range of iwi, that were used to describe aspects of traditional horticulture.

Alley, G.T. and Hall, D.O.W. 1941 The Farmer In New Zealand, Dept. of Internal Affairs, Wellington, x; 156 pp.
The sixth of 13 volumes published by the Department of Internal Affairs as a ‘Centennial Survey’. Chapter 1, ‘The Maori Farmer’, is a brief but sympathetic historical overview of post-contact Maori agriculture. The book includes a useful collection of notes on sources used, revealing the ubiquitous Best as the principal source for this chapter.

Schaniel, W.C. 1988 'New Technology and Culture Change in Traditional Societies' Journal of Economic Issues, Vol 22 (2): 493-498.
Schaniel, W.C. 2001 ‘European technology and the New Zealand Maori Economy: 1769-1840’ The Social Science Journal, Vol. 38 (1): 137

Two sources that are supportive of the rather obvious (if minority) concept that in adopting technologies, communities simultaneously adapt said technology.

McAloon, J. 2002 ‘Resource Frontiers, environment, and settler capitalism : 1769-1860’ pp 52-68 in Pawson, E. and Brooking, T. (eds) Environmental Histories of New Zealand, Oxford University Press, 342 pp.
Excellent overview of the forces which entwinned Maori into their first experiences of globalisation. McAloon makes specific mention of the environmental effects of expanding capitalism, noting that tribal autonomy was accepted prior to 1840 but the rapid settlement of Europeans led to the increasing exclusion of Maori. Commodification may have begun with the natural and (Maori) farmed produce, but ended with the extensive alienation of land and a concommittant implantation of capitalist social relations.

Howe, K.R. 2003 The Quest for Origins: Who first discovered and settled New Zealand and the Pacific Islands?, Auckland: Penguin, 235 pp.
Excellent synopsis of research history and ideas over the vexed question (for Western academia) of the settlement of the Pacific Islands. Easily and necessarily debunks a number of myths, revealing in the process their origin in the need for European explanation and justification.

2. Archeological

Walton, A. 1978 Maori Soils: A Research Essay presented to the University of Auckland in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Anthropology,

Jones, K.L. 2003 ‘Field Archeology and Settlement Distribution in the Waiapu River Valley, East Coast’ NZ Journal Archaeology., Vol 23: 99-127.
Extensive collection of maps, diagrams and aerial photographs of pa sites along and around the Waiapu River system.

Leech, F., Quinn, C., Morrison, J. and Lyon, G. 2003 ‘The Use of Multiple Isotype Signatory in Reconstructing Prehistoric Human Diet from Archeological Bone from the Pacific and New Zealand’ NZ Journal of Archaeology, Vol 23: 31-98.
Interesting application of difficult techniques to make proximate analyses of historical diet by location and technology (i.e. harvest or catching methods). Usefully it contains a ‘European’ group.

3. Ethnobotanical

Crosby, A.W. 1986 Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, xiv; 368 pp.
One of the best works incorporating global, post-Colombian transfers of flora and fauna into examination of New Zealand’s experience that benefited from a Fulbright scholarship at the Alexander Turnbell Library. Contributes breadth and depth to the history of environmental impacts in New Zealand as it argues for an biological and ecological component of the success of European imperialism. Quotes Herman Melville on the “Mowree”, “Game to the marrow, these fellows are generally selected for harpooners, a post in which a nervous, timid man would be rather out of his element.”

Harris, W. and Kapoor, P. (eds) 1990 Nga Mahi Maori o te Wao Nui a Tane: Contributions to an International Workshop on Ethnobotany, Botany Division, DSIR: Christchurch, x, 209 pp.
Significant collection memorialising the processes that led to the Wai 262 claim.

Riley, M. 1994 Maori Healing And Herbal: New Zealand Ethnobotanical Sourcebook, Viking Sevenseas NZ Ltd: Paraparaumu, 528 pp.

Frost, A. 1996 ‘The antipodean exchange: European horticulture and imperial designs’ pp 58-79 in Miller, D.P. and Reill, P.H. (eds) Visions of Empire: Voyages, botany, and representations of nature, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, xix, 370 pp.
Frost links British imperialism with the exchange of plant specimens, facilitated by Sir Joseph Banks, as a rationale for making Britain independent of other nations as a global maritime empire. New Zealand’s role was not just in providing landfall for seamen but in the provisioning of ships, particularly utilising flax and potatoes which were supplied by Maori growers.

Diamond, J. 1997 Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the last 10,000 Years, Vintage: London, 480 pp.
As the title suggests, this is a hugely ambitious work that while suffering from an explicit environmental determinism nevertheless provides an insightful analysis of human history. Maori feature in a case study of technology superiority (and moral inferiority?) with the brutal treatment of Moriori on the Chatham Islands. Likewise Rapanui/Easter Island is trotted out as an example of near-suicidal environmental degradation. Both examples continue the ‘island as laboratory’ concept that has framed much research in and of the Pacific Islands, although Diamond, an ornithologist by training, argues an anti-racist agenda.

Roskruge, N. 1999 'Taewa Maori: Their Management, Social Importance, and Commercial Viability.’ A Report for the Degree Of Resource Management.
Roskruge, N. 2001 'Taewa Maori: Their Management and Commercial Viability' in Howard, M. L. & H. Moller (eds.) He Minenga Whakatü Hua o Te Ao, Murihiku Marae 25 – 27 August 2000. Online at:
Important works that detail some of the history to the establishment of Tahuri Whenua (soon to be formalised Maori growers organisation).

Burtenshaw, M., Harris, G., Davidson, J., Leach, F. 2003 ‘Experimental Growing of Pre-European Cultivars of Kumara (Sweet Potato, Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam.) at the Southern Margins of Maori Horticulture’ NZ J. Archaeo, Vol 23: 161-188.

Yen, D.E. ‘The Sweet Potato in the Pacific: The Propogation of the Plant in relation to its Distribution’

4. Political-economic

Rose, D., Sanderson, K., Morgan, P. and Andrews, G. 1997 The Nature and Extent of the Maori Economic Base: A report prepared for Te Puni Kokiri, Business and Economic Research Ltd/Federation of Maori Authorities, 53 pp.

Maughamn C.W. and Kingi, T.T. 1997 Efficiency and Maori Land: A Conceptual Framework for Economic Development, Department of Agribusiness and Resource Management, Massey University, Occasional Publication No. 5, July 1997, 31 pp.

Gillespie, A. 1998 'Environmental Politics in New Zealand/Aotearoa: Clashes and Commonality Between Maoridom and Environmentalists' New Zealand Geographer, Vol 54 (1): 19-25.

Broeke, S. 1999 'Maori Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights: An Anthropological Approach to the Protection of Indigenous Rights within a Modern Nation-state and a Global Economy' Oceania Newsletter 22, March 1999.

Maori Economic Development Commission 1999 Importance of Exporting to Maori: A Report Wellington: Infometrics Ltd.

Parker, B. 2000 Maori in the New Zealand Economy (2nd edition) Wellington: Te Puni Kokiri.

Walker, R. 2001 He Tipua: The Life and Times of Sir Apirana Ngata, 443 pp.
Interesting for its insight into legislative context of Maori land use, over which Ngata had considerable experience and input. Easily searched by a relatively good index (these being too often absent or scant in modern text books).

D.V. 2001 Matauranga Maori and Taonga: The Nature and Extent of Treaty Rights held by Iwi and Hapu (regarding) Indigenous Flora and Fauna, Cultural Heritage Objects, Valued Traditional Knowledge, Waitangi Tribunal Report, 168 pp.

New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (Inc.) 2003 Maori Economic Development/Te Ohanga Whaneketanga Maori, Wellington, ix, 106 pp.
Comprehensive description and analysis of a Maori economy not easily observed by earlier methodologies.

5. Food Studies

Rout, E. 1926 Native Diet: With numerous practical recipes William Heinman: London, ix, 140 pp.
A dated attempt at (European) social engineering - via dietary advice – that treats Maori foods as harkening back to a mythical era of native health and prosperity. Full of thoughts such as “There is probably no reason why braken-tapioca should not be made in Great Britain – that would help to solve the problem of the unemployed.” (p9)

Fuller, D. 1978 Maori Food and Cookery, A.H. and A.W. Reed, Wellington, 92 pp.
[Ngati Whakaue]
Very interesting collation of Maori cuisine that reveals the hybrid nature of many ‘traditional’ dishes. The author was born in England, moving to New Zealand at a time (1952) when many traditional methods were still practiced and which he observed. The book has a number of photographs as well as an overview of pre-European food collection and preparation methods.

Battenfeld, N. and Athar, N. n.d. ‘Health Benefits of Traditional Maori Vegetables’ Crop and Food Research,

Gibbs, N. 1996 ‘Genetically Modified Organisms and Maori Cultural and Ethical Issues’ MfE.

Roberts, G. 2000 'Maori Perspectives and the Treaty of Waitangi' pp 26-31 in Davis, R. (ed) Will the ENZ Justify the Genes Proceedings from the Symposium on the Ethics of Genetic Engineering, August 2000, Capital City Forum, Joint Methodist Presbytarian Public Questions Committee: Wellington, 76 pp.

Hutchings, J. 2001 'The Maori View on GM: Molecular Kaitiakitanga' Splice May/June 2001, Vol 7 (4).

6. Maori Resource Management and Agro-ecology

Hargreaves, R.P. 1960 ‘Maori agriculture after the wars: 1871-1886’ Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol 69 (4), December 1960.
Part of a wider inquiry into New Zealand agricultural history that discusses the establishment of several crops. Reveals that poor technology transfer led to the demise of many agricultural and horticultural enterprises. With the aid of many references to the Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives, it is a useful paper for regional analyses and hapu history.

Christy, W.H. 1984 ‘The Maori and His Land’ Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association, Vol 45: 38-40.
[Tawapata Inc.]
Basic primer on Maori land issues delivered to Grassland Association conference.

Wirepa, D.I. 1984 ‘Comment by a Maori Farmer’ Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association, Vol 45: 41-43.
[Wharekahika A47 Block]
Personal account of negotiating a lease for the purposes of farming Maori land and subsequent development and problems.

Sandrey, R. 1987 ‘Maori and Pakeha: Land and Fisheries’ Chapter 26 of Wallace, L.T. and Lattimore, R. (eds) Rural New Zealand: What Next?, AERU, Lincoln College.

Dickison, M. 1994 ‘Maori Science? Can Traditional knowledge be considered scientific?’ NZ Science Monthly, May 1994: 6-7

Roberts, M., Norman, W., Minhinnick, N., Wihongi, D. and Kirkwood, C. 1995 ‘Kaitiakitanga: Maori Perspectives on conservation’ Pacific Conservation Biology Vol 2 (1): 7-20.
An almost ubiquitous reference in Maori resource management and environmental discourse.

New Zealand Conservation Authority/ Te Pou Atawhai Taiao o Aotearoa, 1997 Maori Customary Use of Native Birds, Plants and Other Traditional Materials: Interim Report and Discussion Paper, 178 pp.

Durie, M. 1998 Te Mana, Te Kawanatanga: The Politics of Maori Self-Determination, Oxford University Press: Auckland, vii, 280 pp.

Hutchings, J. and Tipene, B. 1998 Tohu Waotu: Maori Environmental Performance Indicators, Prepared for the Ministry for the Environment’s Maori Advisory Group by Tuanuku Maori resource Management Consultancy, 38 pp.

Roberts, G. 2000 'Maori Perspectives and the Treaty of Waitangi' pp 26-31 in Davis, R. (ed) Will the ENZ Justify the Genes Proceedings from the Symposium on the Ethics of Genetic Engineering, August 2000, Capital City Forum, Joint Methodist Presbytarian Public Questions Committee: Wellington, 76 pp.

Tau, Te Maire, 2001a 'Matauranga Maori as Epistemology' pp 61-73 in Sharp, A and McHugh, P (eds) Histories, Power and Loss: Uses of the Past - A New Zealand Commentary Bridget Williams: Wellington, 250 pp.
Tau, Te Maire, 2001b 'The Death of Knowledge: Ghosts on the Plain' NZJ History, Vol 35(2):131-152.
[Ngai Tahu]
Two challenging works by a Ngai Tahu historian.

Kawharu, M.(ed) 2002 Whenua: Managing Our Resources, Redd: Auckland, 400 pp.
Excellent collection of wide-ranging experiences, recounted by Maori who are embedded within contemporary resource management and the complex linkages of technical, legal, political, and commercial institutions that this entails. Against the constant change stand iwi and hapu collectives that have based ownership claims on occupation and offer management skills that have been schooled in controlled exploitation. Irwin and Ruru in ‘Mangatu’ (Chapter 3) provide insight (after Crosby) into a post-Colombian, neo-European agro-ecological development, owned and operated by indigenous family institutions.

The chapter by Jane Stephenson, ‘'The Management of a Maori-owned Resource', pp 169-191 is also notable.

Craig Zinsli ‘Consultation with Maori: One company’s perspective’ (pp 230-251) provides a challenge to the historical partnership of Crown and tangata whenua: are private corporations an alternative and more reliable partner, bound by legally enforceable contracts that are mutually beneficial (as envisaged by the Treaty of Waitangi!)?

Pawson, E. and Brooking, T. (eds) 2002 Environmental Histories of New Zealand, Oxford University Press: Auckland.

Athol Anderson’s ‘A Fragile Plenty: Pre-European Maori and the New Zealand environment’ pp 19-34

Helen Leach ‘Exotic Natives and Contrived Wild Gardens: The 20th century home garden’ pp 214-232

Friday, June 04, 2004

Pacific Islanders in the business of New Zealand rugby: rucking the national identity?

This article is a result of an honours paper I did at Canterbury University Geography department around 2000. I'm revisiting it in light of the amalgamation of the Samoan, Fijian and Tongan rugby union teams into the Pacific Islanders. If anything the international labour division process continues (thanks to the comments on this from an audience member of the 2001 'Space Odyssey ' NZ and Ozzie Geoggraphy conference, Dunedin).

The place of sport in modern society is such that previously used terms like 'game', 'pastime' or 'leisure activity' seem quaint and almost nostalgic. Sport has become a dynamic business, an often lucrative if fickle career for certain individuals and an expression of identity and pride for many if not most countries. All of these features are evident around the Pacific region, particularly within the 'national game' of New Zealand, rugby union. From an amateur game first played in 1870, New Zealand representatives now sign contracts for up to $250,000 per season and can earn lucrative sponsorship and marketing contracts. First televised live via satellite in 1972, the broadcast rights were purchased by Rupert Murdoch's global company for what appears to be the bargain price of $828 million dollars for 10 years. All Blacks regularly feature in advertisements for products ranging from beer, pizza and cars to hotels and milk. Their marriages, social lives and off-field indiscretions provide regular media filling and their on-field exploits continue to provide New Zealand with a ready source of pride and a focus for nationalism.

Historically the game itself was idealised as an egalitarian melting pot where class and ethnicity were ignored, a 'fundamentally…democratic game.' The participation of the indigenous Maori was valued as they impressed as skilled and exuberant footballers. In the 1980's other groups of Pacific Islanders were to make their mark on the sports fields of New Zealand. Increasing numbers of Samoan, Tongan and Fijian players achieved provincial honours. Some went on to cement places in the national team and travel the world as representatives of the famed 'All Blacks'.

This project investigates this phenomenon by firstly examining Pacific Islanders as representatives of New Zealand rugby through their historical and contemporary involvement in the sport and the implications this has for Pacific Island teams. Secondly the impacts of this on the place of Pacific Islanders within New Zealand's national identity will be examined.

Bale and Maguire position the issues of sports labour migration within the context of globalization. They note that sports geography is a comparatively new field and is yet to utilise the theoretical apparatus of sociology and history where sports has a much longer presence. The most common treatment has been to simply map the information and show the patterns of migratory flows between origin and destination, revealing 'talent-deficit' and 'talent-surplus' areas. This method can be complemented by a behavioral approach which acknowledges such migration to be the outcome of a decision-making process. Bale took an analogy from Taylor's three-tier model of the world political system in describing different scales for studying sports migration: 1, reality (global-achievement sport); 2, ideology (national sport systems); and 3, experience (local sport situation). The phenomenon of 'the Brawn drain' cannot be understood only by examining events in individual countries.

The second half of this research aims to illuminate what the implications of the appearance of Pacific Islanders in New Zealand's national game have for national identity. Sport has increasingly served as an exemplary area for research on these issues. The utility of the game of rugby for the purposes of illuminating these issues in New Zealand has been acknowledged in various fields. Whitson argues that sport has been particularly effective in expressing nationalism for several reasons. Sporting contests are 'popular dramas' that define a rivalry between 'us' and 'them', inviting members of each community to identify with the fortunes of 'their' team. Importantly sports have origins that spread beyond the urban elites, unlike such fields as the arts and sciences. Also, with international competition, triumphs and defeats become a part of national mythology, complete with ready-made heroes and villains. Linked to this is the concept of 'patriotism', key elements of which are an identification with a country and a concern for its success in sporting endevours. Engaging in participant observation techniques during the 2000 rugby season in New Zealand, as well as drawing on previous experiences in and around the game, I will illuminate aspects of Pacific Island labour migration to New Zealand's rugby industry.

1. The International Stage: Global Sport

"Let us export our oarsmen, our fences, our runners into other lands. That is the true free trade of the future…"

                                                                                                                  Pierre de Coubertin (1892)

Sporting events now regularly capture and captivate world audiences: 2 billion for the 1998 World Cup final in Paris and a likely viewing audience in the billions for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The figures hint at the scale of enterprise involved: Sydney's Olympics are expected to boost the Australian GDP by A$7.3 billion. The individuals competing can become not just fabulously wealthy but also almost universally recognised. Although the sums may be ludicrous for 'just a game' the same argument can be posed for any of a number of 'industries'. But sport has come to encapsulate feelings of nationalism: as Eric Hobsbawm said, 'the imagined community of millions seems more real as a team of eleven people'. Whatever its origins and not withstanding the influence of the media, it has been said that sport is 'the Esperanto of the modern world' and 'an arena where diversity is publicly celebrated and cross-cultural understanding facilitated'. Certainly it features regularly in expressions of national identity and pride around the Pacific, not least in New Zealand. In this time of economic and cultural volatility in New Zealand, what is the role of Pacific Islanders in this phenomenon?

Sport in the Pacific
Sport was an easily transported aspect of colonial culture and a cursory examination of sporting pastimes in previously colonised or foreign controlled countries reveals superficially quirky results: cricket in the Indian sub-continent, baseball in the Dominican Republic (and Japan), rugby in the southern tip of Africa and on the pampas of South America and of course in New Zealand. Missionary influence was sometimes apparent whereby sport seen as a means to instill discipline and fitness in newly 'civilised' races. In many ways it was yet another colonial 'tool': not necessarily 'evil' but certainly operating within the context of 'hegemonic desires'.

Of course this was not simply the imposition of another cultures customs but a two-way process. One of the more hide-bound and 'traditional' of English sports, cricket, has undergone extensive 'revision' in the Islands, exemplified by Samoan 'kirikiti' but also revamped on the Trobriand Islands and utilised as a modern expression of traditional social gift-giving. The first South Pacific Games was held in Fiji in 1963 and official sports have played an increasing role in Pacific Island civil life, as a count of sports articles published in the Pacific Islands Monthly over the past two decades (see Figure 1). The interest in sports has been maintained by indigenous peoples across the Pacific, with variations (not just cultural adaptations but also innovations through lack resources) in many instances but increasingly subservient to the demands of wealthier often ex-colonial countries that ring the Pacific Ocean: America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

American sports have long been the considered the epitome of professional development. The pursuit and purchase of potential talent is an integral part of 'the game'. Samoans have played in the premier National Football League of the US since 1967 and in the 1986 season, 70 to 80 Samoan players were involved in the highly respected collegiate competition. In the 1995 season 14 Samoans (primarily from American Samoa) and Tongans' (often Hawaiian-born) appeared in the premier NFL competition. One of the main reasons for this presence was attributed to the migration of Mormon families to the US from the Islands.

Sumo wrestling in Japan provides several examples of Pacific Islanders surviving and even flourishing in a sport where size counts for so much. The sport was strictly Japanese until the 1970's when Hawaiian Jesse Kukaulua appeared. He subsequently aided the recruitment of Salevaa Atisanoe who, at 270kgs, was nicknamed 'Konishiki' ('The Dumptruck'). Two others to succeed were Chad Rowan, another Hawaiian (a..k.a. 'Akebono') and Fiemalu Penitani (a Tongan-born in Hawaii). In a contact sports where 'size matters' it seems that Pacific Islanders, and Polynesians in particular, seem to possess the physical attributes that are required.

2. The All Blacks: New Zealand's national team.

"For many New Zealanders, the successful New Zealand sportsman or woman represents the archetype of the battler succeeding against the odds."
                                                                                                           NZ Official Yearbook 1998:36.

Even allowing for parochialism, the achievements of the New Zealand rugby team place them as one of the worlds highest performing sporting collectives. Of 336 international matches to 1999, 241 have been won, a win percentage of 72%. The teams fortunes are followed passionately and losses have even (tongue-in-check but only just) been associated with changes in government. Rugby became nominated as a 'badge of identity.'

Bryan Williams is generally thought to be the first Pacific Islander to represent the All Blacks. First selected in 1970 as an 18 year old, this (New Zealand-born) Samoan went on to play 38 tests over the next 8 years. The next was Bernie Fraser, Fijian-born, who represented New Zealand from 1979 to 1984. Pacific Island representation in the 1970's and early to mid 80's was characterised by individual players: Joe Stanley (Samoan, first selected 1986) was the next, soon joined by Michael Jones. And then, as Figure 2 shows, the pattern of Pacific Island representation changed with two, three, sometimes four, sometimes more, Pacific Islanders selected simultaneously. What were the reasons behind this?
Eligibility for any international team has required a player to either be born in the country concerned, or to have a parent or grandparent born there (the grandparent rule has become controversial as the links seem more tenuous). The IRB rules once required a 36 month stand-down between representing one country and turning out for another. However, a 'gentlemen's agreement' was in operation between New Zealand and Western Samoa which allowed players until February 15th of each season to declare their intentions, a reflection of the 'special relationship' which exists between the two countries, both politically and on the sportsfield. This situation arose with Frank Bunce, a Samoan player who represented Western Samoa during the 1991 Rugby World Cup and New Zealand at the 1995 event.

Obviously the increasing Pacific Island presence in New Zealand society from immigration and a high population growth rate has led to an increasing pool of people eligible for various New Zealand rugby teams. This representation is considerably above what could reasonably be expected on a population basis and is augmented by ex-Island representatives (primarily Samoan) gaining New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) contracts.

Table 1: Rugby Player numbers by country.

Country Playing Numbers
1. England 541,000
2. South Africa 308,000
3. France 241,200
4. Japan 146,800
5. New Zealand 120,800
6. Australia 111,350
7. Ireland 64,900
8. Argentina 55,250
9. Fiji 55,100
10. Wales 53,250
11. Canada 47,000
12. Scotland 43,100
13. Italy 36,600
14. US 30,200
15. Spain 14,800
16. Samoa 14,300
Source: IRB.

In the debate over professionalism in rugby, many commentators were of the opinion that New Zealand would struggle to compete at the level supporters were accustomed to, given the limited resources including sponsorship. Table 1 shows that New Zealand may not have the much vaunted 'player depth' that has historically been given as a reason for the success of the All Blacks. However, the regular inclusion of Pacific Island players in the national competitions (especially the premier Super 12 competition) arguably widens the New Zealand 'catchment' considerably. With the International Rugby Board (IRB) passing new laws on the 1st of January this year, a player can now represent just one country during their career. Players will now be required to choose as to their loyalty to team, nation and employer. In this respect, New Zealand teams will have considerable advantage over the less-resourced teams of Samoa, Fiji and Tonga.

As has been noted, sporting occasions are a focus for nationalism. In this context, are the All Blacks accepted as representative of New Zealander society? Ethnically, on a population basis Pacific Islanders are over-represented, Chinese and Indian New Zealanders (and Pakeha) are under-represented. Yet this was not commented on by those whose opinions were sought. What people did comment on was the overtly corporate nature of the game at the highest levels.

'They're expected to win at all costs and we're not like that as a nation.'

'No. A Lot of New Zealanders aren't captured by the rugby scene.'

'They're a bunch of overpaid %@#*!'

The modern era has seen an increasing awareness of the players as the prime asset in the sport. They receive support in areas which simply were not recognised in previous eras: psychological counseling, financial advice, training camps, individually tailored programmes, greater recognition of partners and families. Oh, and money. Sometimes lots of money, and while many supporters acknowledge that top players deserve their salaries, it seems to be a factor in alienating the national team from the widespread support that was once enjoyed.

3. Provincial Rugby in New Zealand: Pacific Islanders and the professional era.
All grades of opinion, from the university professor to the navvy, the socialist, the freethinker…any class of religious thought…the black man, the brown man and the white man have all one common place on the rugby field"
Daniel McKenzie, 1911.

How does money change a simple (some would say simplistic!) game like rugby. The game itself was introduced to the Pacific by British soldiers in Fiji in 1880 although the Fiji Rugby Union was not founded for another 33 years. In Samoa it was the Marist Brothers religious order at the beginning of the 1900's, and for Tonga the first game was played in 1923. In New Zealand rugby spread with surprising rapidity in the last quarter of the 19th century, quickly supplanting soccer and Australian Rules. Provincial boundaries remained relatively stable over an extended period of time and a national competition was established in 1975. The main most tumultuous episode in world rugby came with the professionalisation of the game in the 1990's. 'Shamateurism' had been acknowledged for some time, under-the-table payments, incentives and the variable incorporation of professional attitudes and ideals. Although a similar occurrence in the late 19th century saw the game split into two 'codes' (union and league), tradition had established a certain ethos within rugby union which administrators, particularly those based in the Northern Hemisphere (the 'Home' Unions of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) were loathe to dilute.

One of the initiatives of the three major Southern Hemisphere Unions (New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa) was the Super 10 competition involving teams from New Zealand (4), South Africa (3), Australia (2) and the winner of the annual Pacific Island tournament contested by Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. For the Samoan team (the regular winner) this was seen as being an invaluable opportunity to raise the standard of their game so as to be better able to compete against the major powers. The realities of Samoan migration meant that practises were held in Auckland which also became their 'home' ground. When the Super 10 was supplanted by the Super 12 in 1996, the Pacific Island component was unceremoniously dumped from the competition.

The 1998 Super 12 season saw 43 Pacific Island players attached to teams. An investigation of the players from this (2000) season reveals 37, just over 9%. What's more, as no Pacific Islanders were appearing for South African teams, the number involved was spread between five New Zealand and three Australian teams: for the New Zealand teams it is over 18%.

Spectator sport has always appealed to community loyalties but this perspective has been altered somewhat by the advent of professionalism. Cheering for the home team once meant supporting local talent: their success could then reflect glory upon the community that had produced and trained them. This factor was an obvious element in the glorification (some would say deification!) of winning All Black teams. Professional sport now trades in talent that has been disconnected from place. This has been apparent in North American sports of ice hockey, American football, basketball and baseball for some time now and is now an accepted part of European soccer. In New Zealand with the advent of the Super 10 and its successor the Super 12 a similar process has begun, with a 'draft' of players and much movement of players around the country and the Pacific. Individuals (such as Frank Bunce) have been associated with more than one country and many are now associated with two or more provinces or clubs, often spending the last few seasons of their playing careers enjoying lucrative contrtacts in France, Japan, Italy or the UK or taking up a rugby league offer again often in the UK or possibly Australia.

4. What are the implications for the Pacific Islands?

"The Pacific Islands have become international rugby's most fertile nursery with offspring succeeding from Tonga, Samoa and Fiji…"
                                                                                                                        Sydney Morning Herald

As has been amply, even overly, emphasised in New Zealand's history, sport is a powerful factor in national identity and the relationship between the global media and sport this has made this even more prevalent. For smaller, less globally known, nations, the pride in sporting achievements is joyfully celebrated. Nauruan Marcus Stephen (a 3-time medal winner from the 1990 Commonwealth Games) said "Yes it's good for my country. It's put Nauru on the map".

New Zealand-based players were a feature of the successful 1991 Western Samoa team and in that context labour migration was a bonus for Pacific teams. As Figure 3 shows, various players - some born in New Zealand, a few in Samoa - have turned out for both countries. What is now apparent for is that the movement of talented players from Island clubs and national teams means their national teams are less able to compete than previously (and the gap was always there). As Table 2 shows, with the advent of the professional era the gaps in performance between New Zealand and its Pacific neighbours has increased.

Table 2: Pacific Island teams versus New Zealand

Year Fiji Samoa Tonga
1987 Lost 14 - 74
1993 Lost 13 - 35
1995 Lost 9-45
1996 Lost 10 - 51
1997 Lost 5 - 71
1999 Lost 13 - 71
2000 Lost 0-102

Further, it is now obvious that an increasing number of Pacific Island players do not represent Pacific Island clubs but are playing for New Zealand provinces or Australian, British or Japanese clubs. Maps 1-3 show the change in club affiliations for the players of Western Samoa: players are increasingly based in other countries. The trend situation also exist for Tonga (Map 4) and the temporal changes most obvious for Fiji (Maps 5 and 6).

Pacific Island players made an immediate impact on the game of rugby in New Zealand. The winning Auckland team of 1996 included six Samoans, three Tongans' and two Fijians, one of whom (Joeli Videri) was named the Super 12 Player of the Year. Yet divided loyalties quickly became evident: of the 43 players of Pacific Island heritage playing for Super 12 teams in 1998, only 13 declared themselves available to represent their 'home' country.
There are other implications. It has been argued that as sport science and defensive tactics are seen to succeed and as knowledge of them is globalised, the differences of style are diluted. Many respondents expressed their belief in and enjoyment of Pacific 'flair'.

'They take risks whereas under pressure [Europeans] are more likely to play routine…Pacific Islanders have more flair'.

The expression of flair is regularly mentioned in media coverage, along with the physical nature of Pacific Island play. However, the need to attract and retain sponsors requires good results and the spread of New Zealand coaches indicates that if there is such a process, i.e. winning at the expense of entertaining, then it most certainly can be disseminated about the Pacific. Tongan coach, Dave Waterson, was born in New Zealand and also helped coach South Africa during their (successful) 1995 World Cup Campaign. Waterson wanted to mould 'Pacific flair with Springbok tenacity'. Fiji has recently been coached by ex-All Black Brad Johnston, who had 5 years in charge. Concerns that Pacific Islanders may be underrepresented in coaching and management positions lacks enough data at this stage. That Western Samoa had Bryan Williams at the helm for many years, and that Joe Stanley coached in Japan and others have indicated their willingness to remain involved in the game, gives hope that this phenomenon (observed in the US with respect to Afro-Americans and Australian rugby league with Aborigines) will not become entrenched in New Zealand or Pacific rugby.

Pacific Island nations have not taken this threat to their game passively. The Pan-Pacific Rugby Series, inaugurated in 1996 and including Argentina, Canada, the US, Hong Kong and Japan, was an opportunity for teams from the second tier of international rugby to play each other and improve their standing. Unfortunately, a revamp of the tournament to favour the weakest (but wealthiest) nation, Japan, to take effect from 2001, will reduce the opportunities for Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. That rugby is a useful 'calling card' for small nations was shown when the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshiro Mori, appeared at a goodwill match between Japan and the Pacific Island composite team earlier this year. Yet do Pacific Islanders still seek and receive pride in the performance of their players as ex-pat individuals instead of representing their home country? This much was explicitly revealed by a Pacific Islands Monthly list of 'The Greatest Moments in Pacific Island Sport'.

1.Fiji's Vijay Singh winning the US PGA golf championship, 1998.
2.New Caledonian Christian Karembeu appearing in France's World Cup winning soccer team, 1998.
3.Tonga's Paea Wolfgramm's Olympic silver for boxing, 1996.
4.Samoan Beatrice Faumuina winning the discuss title at the World Athletics Championship, 1997.
5.Fiji capturing the World Sevens Rugby Title, 1997.
6.Samoans Joe Stanley and Michael Jones featuring in New Zealand's rugby union World Cup winning team, 1987.
7.Tongan Viliame Ofahengaue featuring in Australia's rugby union World Cup winning side, 1991.
8.Christian Karembeu featuring in Real Madrid's European Champion's Cup winning soccer team, 1998.
9.Vijay Singh winning the World Match Play Tournament, 1997.
10.Tongan Jimmy Dymock featuring in Australia's rugby league World Cup winning side, 1995.

Six of the ten events involve ex-patriate or overseas-born Pacific Islanders.

That the islands are now a source of talented players is readily and approvingly trumpeted, as in the Sydney Morning Herald article reprinted above (the headline was 'Islands Produce String of Pearls'). It has always been recognised that for a player to improve it may be necessary for them to move to another province. In New Zealand this has meant talented second or third division players moving to first division provinces. For Pacific Island players, the first port of call has often been New Zealand.

Other aspects of migration can also be discerned in this 'trade'. There is evidence of 'chain migration' whereby one player has 'introduced' another to a future employer. For instance Luke Erinavula is credited with encouraging Joeli Vidiri to New Zealand rugby when he, Erinavula, 'defected' to Australian Rugby League. Another aspect is the sheer mobility exhibited by some of these individuals. Figure 3 outlines the career of T'o Vaega, born in Western Samoa, captain of the 1991 Western Samoa World Cup team and currently playing in England. Vaega played for three provinces and one Super 12 franchise in just over a decade in this country. His movements are by no means exceptional and further research into the behavioural aspects of this phenomenon would greatly improve our understanding.

The family connection is often a media focus and is perhaps more easily understood as genetic and environmental factors undoubtedly play a role in siblings winning top honours or children following in the footsteps of their parents. One variation for Pacific Islanders is that these achievements may cross national boundaries. Thus the Umaga brothers played against each other in a recent rugby international (Tana for New Zealand, Mike for Samoa); Bernice Mene captained New Zealand in netball; her father was an athletic representative for Samoa

However as the club affiliation maps show, New Zealand is not the 'core' country that history would perhaps decree. Rather, as some followers feared and recent developments confirm, New Zealand is at best a 'semi-peripheral' component of the rugby labour movement, surplus in talent and regularly supplying the true core nations which are measured by their wealth and not (yet) their playing ability: Japan, the UK, Italy to a certain extent, and perhaps the US and Canada in the future.

6. Is 'Race' a Factor?

"White men can't jump…(black men can't think)"
                                                                                                                        Gary Younge, 2000.

Commenting on the physical representation of Pacific Islanders dates back to first contact with European explorers, indeed the 'scientific gaze' was quite explicitly directed towards the 'genius, temper, disposition…of the natives.' The 'promiscuity' of the young women ('dusky maidens'), and the stature and 'nobility' of the men were concepts that became fixed and fixated upon by Western discourse. Applications for this were to be found by European industry: the captain of a German ship in 1966 noted the many 'strongly built male inhabitants' of Kiribati who subsequently attracted a training school for seamen.

Certainly race and racial stereotypes have been considered an element in sporting success and failure for many years in the Western sporting world and presumably elsewhere. Medical evidence for a 'genetic advantage' is lacking despite various studies. That Pacific Islanders have a physical advantage at secondary school level is regularly and disarmingly accepted. Is there scientific proof for this? Tonkin in a study on Maori health found that Maori adolescents reached maturity earlier than their Pakeha classmates. Also there was evidence that muscle mass was greater for Maori than Pakeha of the same age. Houghton's controversial study on aspects of human biology in Pacific peoples argues that Pacific Islanders not only have greater body mass but that this has been, in a very short period, environmentally determined. The physical characteristics have been freely commented upon historically, are continually mentioned in contemporary sports reporting and appear to have some, admittedly scant, scientific support.

Certain stereotypes were once freely reported by the New Zealand sporting press, for instance musical ability of islanders and their propensity to obesity. Tropical diets were held to be a hindrance to sporting stamina, in comparison to New Zealand's meat-based diet. In order to see what perceptions were held by New Zealanders, a number of semi-structured interviews were conducted during the 2000 season, often at televised sporting events (the Olympics coincided with some of this research) and especially in front of big screens with those very knowledgeable rugby aficionados that New Zealand produces. The apparent sporting ability and physical advantages of Pacific Islanders (especially Samoans') was regularly commented upon.

'It seems they are [better at sport], physically, because they're represented in a lot of our teams.'

'Yes, but their stamina is not so good…they have harder bones.'

'No [they're not better sportspeople] but they're primo at rugby.'

Socio-economic and cultural factors were also seen as encouraging prowess in rugby.

'Cultural ideas of kinship [help].'

'They're harder people. They're tougher people.'

The interview process saw many respondents volunteer tales of Pacific Island (generally Samoan) violence: in fear if personal, with admiration if simply observed. Some respondents expressed open disregard for any civil ability of Islanders.

'They’re dangerous and dirty'

Others placed 'our' Polynesians in a hierarchical ladder, with Fijians below them and Aborigines and Africans at the bottom.

7. What are the implications for Pacific Island New Zealanders: Is 'Race' an Issue?
Although it is quite possible, even admirable, to appreciate sport with the connoisseur's delight in excellence, it is much more commonly observed and promoted as a partisan drama structured around contests between representatives of different communal groups. This has in the past verged on the blatantly racist and in modern cosmopolitan nations, inter-ethnic rivalry has been continued in sports where it first began in violent conflict. In this respect the contribution of rugby to the construction of New Zealand identity is variously interpreted. MacLean (1999) sees it as a process of incorporating Maori masculinity into Pakeha hegemony. Sport has mirrored certain racial attitudes resulting in 'positional segregation' whereby black players are selected for speed positions in American football or Australian rugby league, and quite specifically excluded from positions of control or influence on the field (Hallinan 1988).

The 1993 tour of New Zealand by the British Lions' team was notable from a Pacific Island perspective in that there were five (of seven) backs who possessed Pacific Island or Maori identities. In the pre-match interviews, Vai'inga Tuigamala made the comment that Grant Fox was an 'honourary big bro', unintentionally expressing the standard requirement of a calm, European influence in what can be a passionate and occasionally chaotic physical activity. This perception was often commented on by followers of rugby and others who were approached for their views.

”They're physically better players, but not brainwise."

"They're far more laid back"

The literature regarding ethnic minorities in professional sport reveals that participation in sport has often been an extension of the social arena and hence racial issues have been expressed on the sportsfields as well as work places, schools and the streets. Much of the American experience tells of the struggle by African Americans to be accepted as eligible for the top (i.e. professional) ranks in a society still racially divided into the late 1960's. In the Caribbean the selection of increasing numbers of non-white cricketers reflected the changing social climate in the region. The issue of race and sport in South Africa has been a factor not just in New Zealand sporting contacts with that nation but also the greater socio-political context with extensive and often violent protests during a tour by the South African rugby team in 1981. Yet apart from this rather unique relationship (which did lead to racially selected touring All Black teams in the 1950's and 60's in deference to South Africa's domestic policy of apartheid) the matter of increasing Pacific Island representation in the national game has universally been seen as nothing but positive by New Zealand sports supporters.

Undoubtedly much of this can be attributed to the egalitarian ethos of the sport of rugby in particular and the general support that successful sportspeople in New Zealand receive. Everybody loves a winner. Also rugby in New Zealand has had to deal with the spectre of apartheid South Africa with its racist ideology and practises that. The role of Maori in this and the support from 'middle' New Zealand has meant that rugby perceives that it has hurdled the major issue of race via one transforming phenomenon. Individual Pacific Islanders have in no small measure contributed to the success of the All Blacks and other teams over the past three decades: Bryan Williams was touring South Africa as an 'Honorary White' at the age of 18. Individual successes are also common: Beatrice Faumuina in the discuss, and David Tua in boxing are two high profile examples. That the individuals concerned have often been exemplary in their behaviour off the field - many Pacific Islanders like Michael Jones, Inga Tuigamala and Eroni Clarke making no secret of their committed Christianity - must also contribute to their acceptance.

In boxing Pacific Islanders are again over-represented (and the upcoming heavyweight championship bout between the already mentioned David Tua and the holder, Lennox Lewis of Great Britain is a case in point). Netball and Softball are two other sports where Pacific Islanders have enjoy regular selection (the one-time Fijian netball captain has just been selected for the New Zealand team in which the top South African goal shoot is now a member). Only one Pacific Islander has been selected for the New Zealand cricket team, Murphy Su'a, a Samoan, and considering that variations of cricket are played by Islanders, the anomaly is even more noteworthy. A comparison of Pacific Islander participation in rugby league (a professional code for over 100 years) and rugby union would be interesting in light of the lower socio-economic status of Islanders in this country. Are poorer people attracted to a sport in which some financial reward, however slight at the lower levels, is openly acknowledged?

Of course professional sport has a close and mutually beneficial relationship with the media. In New Zealand the media has been criticised for limited and stereotyped portrayals of Pacific Islanders (Samasoni 1990; Finau 1990). However Samasoni's observation of prime time television in the mid-1990's in which Polynesian faces were notable by their absence needs to be reviewed in the light of the extensive media coverage of professional rugby with its over-representation of Pacific Islanders. Certainly Pacific Island faces are regularly to be seen although they are predominantly male and either playing rugby or mouthing the traditional sports clichés and thanking sponsors. Sports commentators regularly struggle and mispronounce Pacific Islander names, thus Viliame Ofaenguae became Willie O and Vai'inga Tuigamala became Inga the Winger. However there does appear to be a growing number of sporting celebrities of Pacific Island and Maori identity who have roles as media commentators and the worst excesses of a monocultural media will hopefully be avoided.

Efforts at describing the ability and performance of Pacific Islanders in rugby regularly utilises words like 'bigger', 'explosive' and 'intimidating'. The media likewise resorts to certain stock phrases and exaggerations: Jonah Lomu was described as 'Seven foot tall with legs as big as tree trunks' when he began his career. A moment in a game between Fiji and a British team was summarised as 'the massive Fijians…turned on the brute force'. The Tongans' who toured New Zealand this season were described as 'robust islanders'.

The identification and training of potential professional players now begins at high school level in New Zealand. In February 1997, Aranui High School in Christchurch opened its own Sports Academy. The initiative originated from a realisation that often the one positive thing in the lives of failing students - many of them Maori and Pacific Islanders - was sport. The focus on sports, however, is not universally accepted. MP Winnie Laban, a Samoan-New Zealander, has expressed anger that Pacific Island students win sports awards and academic awards are more likely to be picked up by Europeans or Asians.

"Our young people need a life beyond rugby. They need to be educated"
                                                                                                            Winnie Laban (Samoan-NZ MP).

Other schools have followed suit. However the attitude that Pacific Islanders are not suited to academic pursuits, and that this explains their sporting ability, is a common perception held by Pakeha New Zealanders.

"They're not suited to, yunno, intellectual things…"

With the current government implementing a major policy of 'Closing the gaps' between Maori and middle New Zealand, it is of concern that Pacific Islanders, whose socio-economic statistics are if anything worse than those for Maori, have strongly held stereotypes to overcome.

8. Conclusions
"almost but not quite" 
                                                                                                                   Homi Bhabbha 1987

Worldwide, the era of professional sports in conjunction with global media has dislocated sports teams and sports stars from place. The labour migration patterns observed in this research show that from initially favouring Pacific Island teams with New Zealand-based players, the onset of professionalisation has seen Pacific Island players increasingly tied to New Zealand contracts. Although Pacific Islanders may well take pride in the performance of their ethnic group for other nations, this stems from the weakness of their national sports.

Ashe (1988:xv) refers to 'the primary unanswered question, do Black Americans have some genetic edge in physical activities' and goes on to consider 'that nature, our unique history in America and our exclusion from other occupations have produced the psychic addiction to success in sports…'. This research suggests that similar elements are evident with regard to Pacific Islanders in New Zealand. Certainly a significant proportion of Pacific Islanders are now representing the national, Super 12 and provincial rugby teams of this country to such an extent that their presence and images are now used to promote both the sport in New Zealand and New Zealand on the world stage.

The question of exploitation arises in any labour market although of course work and play are not mutually exclusive. Not all players earn large salaries and a career can end with one serious injury. A career in professional sports is generally enjoyed, something which is probably due to the higher status and other 'fringe benefits' as well as the salary involved. However the newly implemented one player/one country rule may one day be challenged by a migrating player who argues 'restraint of trade': it may well be a Samoan player who provides the test case.

The quote by Bhabbha above speaks of the challenge presented by minorities within colonial discourse. Sport is frequently portrayed as something akin to the ultimate meritocracy, the mythical level playing field. In New Zealand this has been a powerful unifying phenomenon and the game a reinforcing ritual. That it now quite literally 'employs' non-normative New Zealand representatives has both good and problematic elements. In positive terms it presents a more multi-ethnic face not just to the world but to itself. Pacific Island communities exist in New Zealand and are duly represented in an important feature of New Zealand life. However, this representation presents a stereotyped image of the Pacific Island (male) as a physically powerful, intimidating character. Interviews revealed that the various ethnic identities involved are blurred into a wider 'brown' body; for instance many Samoan were frequently presumed to be Maori. There is a perception that those who are good at such an intensely combative activity cannot possess intellectual strength, indeed that there is some sort of 'trade-off' between the two. This is despite the obvious individual talents off the field of several outstanding Pacific Island All Blacks and indicates New Zealand has still to accept Pacific Islanders unreservedly into the national identity.


Ashe, A.R. jr. 1988 A Hard Road to Glory: a history of the African-American Athlete; Vol 3, since 1946, Amistad; New York.

Bale, J., and Maguire, J., (eds) 1994 The Global Sports Arena: Athletic Talent Migration in an Interdependent World, London; Frank Cass.

Blake, A., 1996 The Body Language: the meaning of modern sport, London; Lawrence and Wishart.

Cashmore, E.,1982 Black Sportsmen, Routledge and Kegan Paul; London.

Chandler, , J.L Timothy, and Nauright, J., (eds) 1999 Making the Rugby World: Race, Gender and Commerce, Frank Cass; London.

Chester, R., Palenski, R., and McMillan, N., 2000 Men in Black: commemorative 20th Century Edition, Hodder Moa Beckett; Auckland.

Dixon, N., 2000 'A Justification of Moderate Patriotism in Sport' in Tannsjo and Tamburrini 2000, pp74-86.

The Economist

Far Eastern Economic Times

Fields, D.A., Bemben, M.G., and Mayhew, J.H., 1997 'The Influence of muscle group location and race on the relationship between muscle strength and power' in Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness,, Vol 37(1), pp24-31.

Finau, 'Ofa Kolo 1990 'An incident in Otara: The Media and Pacific Island Communities' in Spoonley and Hirsch (eds) Between the Lines: Racism and the New Zealand Media, pp120-122.

Hallinan, C.J., 1988 'Aborigines and Positional Segregation in Australian Rugby League', paper presented to the Bicentennial National Conference of the Australian Sports Medicine Federation, Sydney, Oct 1988.

Herman, R.D.K., (1999) 'Race, Identity and Representation' in Rapaport 1999, pp156-165.

Houghton, P., 1996 People of the great ocean: Aspects of Human Biology of the Early Pacific, Cambridge University Press.

Howitt, B., 1981 Beegee: the Bryan Williams Story, Rugby Press Limited; Auckland.

Hutchins, B., and Murray Phillips, M.1999 'The Global Union: Globalization and the Rugby World Cup' in Chandler and Nauright (eds) 1999, pp149-164.

Jones, L., 2000 The Book of Fame Penguin Books; Auckland.

Kildea, G., and Leach, J., 1975 Trobriand Cricket [video recording], Australia.

Kuiper, K., 1991 'Sporting Formulae in New Zealand English: two models of male solidarity' in Cheshire, J., (ed) 1991 English Around the World, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 13, pp200-209.

Linnekin, J., and Poyer, L., (1990) eds Cultural Identity and Ethnicity in the Pacific, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.

Linnekin, J., (1990) 'The Politics of Culture in the Pacific' in Linnekin, J., and Poyer, L., (1990) eds Cultural Identity and Ethnicity in the Pacific, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Chapter 7, pp149-173.

Lowenthal, D., (1985) 'Mobility and Identity in the Island Pacific: A Critique' in Mobility and Identity in the Island Pacific, Morrison P.S., (ed) Pacific Viewpoint, Vol 26, No.1, April 1985.

MacLay, R., 1999 Rugby, regionalism and rationalisation, Erskine Seminar, 8th September, 1999, cassette 99/51 MacMillan Brown Library, Canterbury University.

MacLean, M., 1999 'Of Warriors and Blokes: The Problem of Maori Rugby for Pakeha Masculinity in New Zealand' in Chandler and Nauright (eds) 1999, pp 1-26.

Maguire, J., 1999 Global Sport: Identities, Societies, Civilisations, Polity Press, Cambridge.

McCarthy, W., and Howitt, B., 1983 Haka: the Maori Rugby Story, Auckland.

McMillan, J., 1997 'Rugby Meets Economics' in New Zealand Economic Papers, Vol 31(1), 1997, pp93-114.

Meadows, M., 1995 'Obstacle Race: Aborigines in Sport' in Australian Journal of Politics and History, 41(3), pp498-499 (book review).

New Zealand Education Gazette

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Official Yearbook, 1998, Statistics New Zealand.

New Zealand Sports Monthly

North and South

Pacific Islands Monthly

Pacific Islands Report (website )

Park, J., 2000 '"The Worst Hassle is you can't play rugby": Haemophilia and Masculinity in New Zealand' in Current Anthropology, Vol 41(3), pp443-453.

The Press (including on-line,1103,303062a1934,FF.html ).

Phillips, J.O.C., 1984 'Rugby, war and the mythology of the New Zealand Male' in The New Zealand Journal of History, Vol 18:83-103.

Putnam, D., 1999 Controversies of the Sports World London; Greenwood Press.

Rapaport, M., (ed) 1999 The Pacific Islands: Environment and Society Honolulu; Bess Press.

Rigauer, B., (translated by Allen Guttmann) 1981 (originally 1969) Sport and Work, Columbia University Press; New York.

Romanos, M., 'Shallow Player Pool' in Star Sunday Times, June 18th, 2000, B:1.

Rugby League New Zealand Ltd, 1994, Employment Study: Lion Red Cup, 1994.

Samasoni, S., 1990 'Pacific Island responses to our monocultural media' in Spoonley and Hirsch (eds) Between the Lines: Racism and the New Zealand Media, pp134-139.

Sieg, R., 1999 Seminar at 'Hamburg Sued Dampfschiffahrtsgesaellschaft', Hamburg, 12/1/99.

Spickard, P.R., and Fong, R., (1995) 'Pacific Islander Americans and Multiethnicity: A Vision of America's Future?' in Social Forces, June 1995, 73(4), pp 1365-1383.

Spoonley and Hirsch (eds) Between the Lines: Racism and the New Zealand Media, Auckland; Heinemann Reed.

Stewart, B., 1991 'The Nature of Sport under Capitalism and its relationship to the capitalist Labour Process' in Sporting Traditions Vol 6-7, 1989-91, pp43-61.

Stoddart, B., 1986 'Gary Sobers and Cultural Identity in the Caribbean' in Sporting Traditions Vol 5(1), pp131-146.

Sullivan, C., 1998 'The Growing Business of Sport and Leisure: social impacts of physical leisure - an update', Hillary Commission, Wellington.

Sydney Morning Herald website 21st September, 2000).

Tannsjo, T., and Tamburrini, C., (eds) 2000 Values in Sport, E & FN Spoon; London.

Taz, C., 1984 'Race, Politics and Sport' in Sporting Traditions Vol 1(1), pp2-36.

Whitson, D., 1999 ''World Class' Sport, Globalisation and Cultural Diversity' in Australian-Canadian Studies Vol 17(2), 1999, pp55-73.

Williams, G., 1994 'The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited: the migration of Welsh Rugby Talent since 1918' Chapter 2 of Bale and Maguire, pp25-38.

Younge, G., 2000 'White on Black' in Guardian Weekly, Aug 31-Sep 6, 2000:11.

Zavos, S., 1997 Winters of Revenge: the bitter rivalry between the All Blacks and the Springboks, Viking; Auckland.
- 1998 Ka Mate! Ka Mate!: New Zealand's conquest of British Rugby', Auckland; Viking.
Simon Lambert

Create Your Badge