Planet Sport.  New Zealand rugby diplomacy

Planet Sport. New Zealand rugby diplomacy

The New Zealand national rugby team, who plays Hakka, after beating Australia on March 8, 2020 (TREVOR HAGAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA)

Planet Sport, today takes us to the other side of the world, to the land of the great white cloud, New Zealand. On June 14, when the sports world was still almost deadlocked due to the coronavirus crisis, a rugby match in New Zealand gathered 43,000 people in the stands of Eden Park in Auckland. The image revolves around the planet and this is no coincidence. The country opens its stages without restrictions, because the epidemic at that time became under control with a balance sheet at that time of 22 deaths for a population of 5 million people.

In New Zealand, rugby is more than just a sport. It is a vector of political communication, almost since the country’s independence in 1907. Carol Gomez, Director of Research in the Geopolitics of Sport at IRIS, reviews the history of the sport on the island. Since the beginning of the twentieth century century, the country really considered that through the rugby team, it had an image on an international scaleas you say. This was especially expressed by a certain number of tours that were organized in the 2000s. ”

Then there was a tour of Europe that ended in a landslide victory for New Zealand, so much so that they were soon called indomitable.Researcher continues. Thus we were able to see this country on the international scene, which, through rugby and thus sport, had real legitimacy, status and importance in the political and diplomatic arena.”

The ultimate symbol of this New Zealand pride, the all blackThe national team is a three-time world champion who has dominated the rugby world for decades. The all black In New Zealand they are considered the real ambassadors of the country. It is also for this reason that, before each international meeting, they were able to impose the famous Haka, this dance of Maori origin, a true proof of the cultural identity of New Zealanders.

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if all black It makes New Zealand shine abroad, and it also carries a global message of tolerance and sharing that most New Zealanders find themselves in. Covered by Ian Borthwick, New Zealand journalist all black for nearly 40 years. “Compared to the ‘indigenous’ people, that is, the Māori, they got seats in Parliament from it 1857, he explains. Therefore, it is a country founded on the principle of equality. New Zealand is built on it. And somewhere those values ​​are found in this Blacks team, no matter what the era and whatever the level of competition.”

However, there are limits to this sports diplomacy. The country’s image is so closely linked to its national team that one wonders what New Zealand would be like in the eyes of the world if all black Limited defeats instead of victories ?

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