Monday, May 28, 2012

Maps of Pacific Island rugby players: club affiliations while representing home country

Recently a lovely map was posted on LinkedIn by Rosemarie McKeon, an Indigenous mapper I first met at Berkeley three years ago...

A few years ago I mapped club affiliations for Pacific Island players while representing their home country. Tongan, Fijian, and Samoan players were increasingly playing for NZ, Home Union (English, Irish, Welsh, and Scottish), and Australian clubs.

I've posted the essay before - Pacific Islanders in the business of New Zealand rugby: rucking the national identity?but this is the first attempt to post the resulting maps which I made with a basic system used by Canterbury University's geography department...

First up, Tonga. All I've done is gone through the team list for the Tongan team that played the All Blacks in 2000, then placed an indicator (a wee man; feminists may correctly point out it's kind've a gender neutral symbol :) showing in which country these players' clubs was located. The first map 3 Tongan players played for NZ clubs; 3 for Welsh; 4 for Japan; and 8 were still playing in their home country.

Now Fiji...two tests sampled, 1987 and 1997.

And finally Samoa, with three tests, 1993, 1996, and 1999.

Essentially this represents a Marxian international division of labour. The concerns held by Pacific Island rugby administrators, was that their players would be drawn offshore, contracted out of Island selection, and eventually play for their adoptive countries. And this has come to pass.

Ironic that Aotearoa/NZ now agonises over its brain drain having already benefitted from a Pasifika brawn drain.

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Simon Lambert

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