Farah Palmer joins NZ Maori Rugby Board

Photosport     27 Jul 2007     Photosport

34-year-old Dr Palmer succeeds Bill Osborne, who has stepped down.

New Zealand Maori Rugby Board Chairman Paul Quinn said Palmer brought a wealth of experience to the Board.

“Farah is a highly-respected Maori woman, Maori leader, academic, rugby player and administrator. She is passionate about the sport and Maori rugby in particular and I am sure that we will benefit from her extensive knowledge and experience in the game,” Quinn said.

“I would like to acknowledge Bill’s contributions over the past year and wish him all the best for the future,” Quinn added.

Palmer, affiliated to Ngati Mahuta and Ngati Maniapoto (Ngati Waiora) had a distinguished career as a player, captaining the Black Ferns to three consecutive IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup titles in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

As a player, Palmer made her international debut against Australia in 1996 and played in 35 Tests, including 30 as captain, and scored five tries. In addition to leading New Zealand to three world titles, she also captained the Black Ferns to Churchill Cup victory in Canada in 2004 and Canada Cup wins in 2000 and 2005.

At provincial level, she represented Manawatu in the Women’s Competition and played club rugby for Kia Toa in Palmerston North.

At the same time, she pursued a career in sport management, earning a PhD in Sport Sociology and Education from the University of Otago. She is currently a senior lecturer in the Sports Management and Coaching Programme at Massey University in Palmerston North and is working part-time as a National and Regional mentor for Te Puni Kokiri.

Her numerous other achievements include:

• Being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007 for services to women’s rugby and sport
• Supreme Award winner at the National Maori Sports Awards in 2006
• IRB International Women’s Player of the Year in 2005
• Manawatu Sports Personality of the Year in 2004
• NZRU Women’s Player of the Year in 1998

Palmer said she was humbled by her election.

“New Zealand rugby is entering a challenging, yet exciting time and it is a real honour for me to be in a position to contribute further to the development of the game in this country, not just for the Maori people, but the wider rugby community.

“Even though I am not playing anymore, I still have a lot to offer rugby and I feel I can make a meaningful contribution to how we take the game forward,” she said.