Sport and recreation in New Zealand Pasifika Communities Research Completed


Sport and recreation in New Zealand Pasifika Communities

Lead Author

Gordon, B. A. , Sauni, P., Tuagalu, C., Hodis, F.


Victoria University of Wellington, Sport NZ

Publication Year



Victoria University of Wellington


Barrie Gordon:


One of the fundamental issues underpinning this research is the simple question of why Pasifika should be encouraged to participate in sport and recreation. There is an underpinning assumption that, in general, participation is a “good” thing but this assumption needs to be examined in line with the experiences and understandings of Pasifika themselves. The discussion around Pasifika experiences of sport and recreation and of the outcomes they see arising from participation helps establish the reality of sport and recreation within their lives. Many of those interviewed believed that sport and recreation was a positive factor in their personal lives and in the wider lives of their communities. It is important to note, however, the alternative view of others who felt negativity towards sport leading to a lessening of the pleasure of participation and sometimes complete withdrawal.

Policy makers, and those intending to be influencial around sport and recreation in Pasifika communities, need to make decisions and develop programmes that are culturally aligned and relevant. They should understand the fundamental cultural principles that guide daily interactions among Pasifika peoples including their engaement with sport and recreation. There is a need to ensure that cultural clashes that have the potential to make their work ineffective are avoided. The greatest opportunity is to work with the communities in ways that respect the culture of the group and their particular understandings and needs. This approach can take advantage of the powerful cultural factors that work within the communities and has the potential to be more successful than attempts to implement change from the outside.


Pasifika, Pacific Peoples, Barriers, Enablers, Behavioural support, Health, Behaviour, Activity, Recreation

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January 26, 2012

Last Modified

August 28, 2014

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