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Wellington Rugby's Matariki final highlighting the same old problems
It popped up on social media last night, confirmation that the Wellington Premier Women’s Final for the Tia Paasi Memorial Trophy would be played this Friday at 1pm. It was the first the women’s rugby community had heard of this match being held at this time on the first Matariki Public Holiday. So it didn’t take long for the DMs and group chats to pop off.
It shouldn’t have been this weekend. Poor communication earlier this season left some teams confused about whether the regular bye week between rounds was going ahead. The decision was then made to delay the start of the Premier second round to cover for this confusion. Fast forward to now and Wellington Rugby have made the culturally insensitive decision to hold a final in the middle of the day on Matariki.
It shouldn’t be surprising, this is the same crew who regularly make the decision to hold a final on a Sunday, which inevitably ends up with players having to withdraw because of their faith.
Which is just to say, do we still not know who plays our game?
Matariki is not just a day off and the first public holiday takes on a special significance for whānau around Aotearoa. Like many different days of celebration, the day off for the community at the centre turns into one of the busiest day of their year as they pitch in to mark the occasion. Even I, a pākehā plus one, have been booked out since long ago to attend special celebrations. I’m just lucky I haven’t been put in the impossible position to choose between family and team.
Not to mention, there will be many others for whom 1pm, regardless of the public holiday, will be the middle of their regular work day. Good luck trying to put in for leave just four days out.
What’s the justification? I understand a Farah Palmer Cup camp is schedule for this weekend. Well, that should have been considered before delaying the start of the round. Losing a day for that camp is just the way it goes to ensure that this women’s club competition maintains its credibility. There are still ways to incorporate this match into your programme anyway. The players competing can be analysed by those not and a day at the rugby used as a team builder for all.
Comments from the instagram post that have since been deleted and now the ability to comment has been disabled on this post.
It’s been less than 24 hours and there’s been a lot of noise but are Wellington Rugby listening? At this stage they have simply opted to delete feedback from the community on the post and turn off the ability for further comment. So it looks like it’s #rugbytheirway.
It doesn’t have to be like this, our women’s rugby community in Wellington is as agile and creative off the field as we are on it. Open up the communication lines and find a solution that works for all so we can finish the club season on a high.