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Ed Sheeran

Trophies giving Maori pride on world stage

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The inclusion of taonga tuku iho as sports trophies could boost Maori engagement with sporting codes but do sporting organisations understand the kaitiaki role they take on?

That’s the sort of question being asked in a project funded by Maori research institute Nga Pae o te Maramatanga.

What started as a doctoral thesis by Massey University physical education lecturer Jeremy Hapeta has expanded to include 10 other top Maori academics including his supervisor, former Black Fern and New Zealand Rugby board member Farah Palmer.

Mr Hapeta says Maori contribute unique aspects to the international face of New Zealand support, from the All Blacks haka to the korowai presented to Lions’ captain Sam Warburton during last year’s tour.

He wants to pin down the impact on Maori health, well being and sense of belonging.

"Does it make us feel proud to be Maori, because there is a lot of literature out there that when you feel that sense of belonging and your identity is reaffirmed we live better and hey, more stories like that in New Zealand society in general let alone in sport are good for Maori in terms of how we feel about ourselves and our place in the world," Mr Hapeta says.

The study also wants to know if taonga tuku iho is treasured by sports clubs or if trophies end up gathering dust.

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