In Union: Tasmanian Pasifika & Rugby communities connect in nation-first talanoa

Tue, Apr 4, 2023, 2:00 AM
TAS Rugby
by TAS Rugby
Attendees at Rugby Australia's inaugural community Talanoa in Hobart on Thursday April 30. Picture: Supplied
Attendees at Rugby Australia's inaugural community Talanoa in Hobart on Thursday April 30. Picture: Supplied

A historic talanoa in Hobart has deepened Tasmanian Rugby’s ties with the state’s proud Pasifika community ahead of its 90th anniversary season.

Rugby Australia’s Pasifika Advisor Mike Motu Tauai believes Tasmanian Rugby and the state’s Pasifika community are set to re-ignite the code following a “powerful” community talanoa in Hobart last week.

Talanoa (consultation) is a widely used Pan-Pacific research methodology that promotes a culturally safe and appropriate environment to share and exchange ideas, stories, and skills.

Around 30 participants from across Tasmania joined Tauai along with RUPA player development manager Moana Leilua and talanoa expert Dr David Lakisa at Rugby Park with Tauia branding the evening a “wonderful success”

“The groups were fantastic within their workshop sessions and the Talanoa discussions around the room were passionate and motivating,” Tauai said.

“The gathering created space for fluid and organic conversations leading to real local Pasifika interests and community club rugby initiatives that could benefit from Pasifika Rugby Festivals in the future.”

Tauai identified three key areas of growth for Tasmanian rugby and Pasifika stakeholders; highlighting junior representative pathways, deepening ties with the Tasmania Pasifika Rugby Association and a revamped local Pasifika rugby festival.

“We’re so excited at the prospect of building these relationships up and putting Tasmanian Rugby in as strong a position as possible going forward,” Tauai said.

“There’s a great buzz down here and a great feeling within the Pasifika community.”

Hobart Harlequins president Jeff Altmann said feedback from his club’s Pasifika players and the broader rugby community had been “overwhelmingly positive”.

“We had attendees from the Samoan, Fijian and Tongan councils of Tasmania at Rugby Park along and we’ve been really pleased with the response.

“Our Pasifika community is so important to Tasmanian Rugby as a whole.”