Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu on Racism & Exploitation of the Pacific Islands
March 6, 2018 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu: Sad days at Auckland Grammar (Interview w/ Dale Husband, E-Tangata)
I remember this general knowledge question in primary school: “Who discovered New Zealand?” And I wrote: “Māori discovered New Zealand.” And that was wrong. I was told the correct answer was Abel Tasman. Even though there were Māori people already here in New Zealand, it was very important for us to learn that a white person was “first”.

Racism in rugby and school (27'39, Interview w/ Nine to Noon, RNZ)

Eliota hasn't been too wide of the mark (Teresia Teaiwa, E-Tangata)
In the subsequent social media storm, not everyone has taken his side. Some former students of Auckland Grammar have criticised him for his account of the history that AGS served up to him and his classmates when he was there 20 years ago. They don’t have the same memories or the same concerns spelled out by Eliota.

On Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu

Rebel with a cause (Steve Deane, NZ Herald)
Depending which side of the rugby tracks you grew up on, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu is either an unhinged agitator or a voice for the disenfranchised Polynesian bloc.
Mark Reason: Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu's cocaine in rugby bomb makes perfect sense (Mark Reason, Stuff)
Fuimaono-Sapolu has long spoken out against authority. His is not idle rant. He described referee Nigel Owens as "a biased prick" at the 2011 World Cup after the Welshman officiated the game between South Africa and Samoa.
It was key game that had a bearing on Wales's future at the tournament. And yet a Welshman was appointed to officiate by a committee that was chaired by another Welshman. Samoa also had a three-day turnaround on their big games compared to the eight enjoyed by their tier one rivals. It was a scandal but it was Fuimaono-Sapolu who got the ban.

Player Eligibility

Jerry Collins' player eligibility 'wish' the mission of Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu (Marc Hinton, Stuff)
The Pacific Island nations have long argued for a change in regulations that would allow qualified players to switch nationalities later in their careers – a concept that New Zealand Rugby also strongly supports.
But it has been strongly resisted by the northern hemisphere nations, many of whom would no doubt feel threatened by former All Blacks and Wallabies switching to the Pacific nations of their heritage as their careers wound down.
Outspoken Samoan Rugby Star Slams The Hypocrisy Of "Old White Male Coaches" After Recent Sevens Appointment (Vice)
Outspoken rugby star Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu has fired up again, describing the appointment of a former New Zealand sevens boss as hypocritical compared with the Polynesian player drain from the Islands to New Zealand.

Player Welfare

BBC Highlights Challenges Faced By Pacific Islanders (BBC, Patrick Gearey, 2’32)

Revealed: How Pacific Island player welfare is being neglected in rugby's 'gold rush' (Daniel Schofield , Telegraph)
Wherever a Pacific Island player ends up, they will be expected to support their family and sometimes their entire village. It is common for players to send home 75 per cent of their wages in remittances. That can place a huge strain on an individual who finds himself in an alien environment unable to grasp the language or culture.
The rugby pros from the Pacific Islands who united to help vulnerable players (Jonathan Drennan, The Guardian)
Pacific Rugby Players Welfare is an independent not-for-profit organisation that supports professional and semi-professional players of Pacific Island heritage in the UK and Europe – enabling their ongoing success both on and off the field.

Match Fees

Samoa rugby match fees compared to slavery (Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, interview w/ John Campbell, RNZ)
When Samoa plays England on Sunday, the England players will get a match fee of 22,000 pounds, and the Samoan players will get 650 pounds.
England players rule out donation to Samoa on ‘ethical’ grounds (Gerard Meagher, The Guardian)

Samoa Rugby Union hates the players and the game (Scotty Stevenson, The Spinoff)
The Samoa Rugby Union needs a hand up, not a hand out, writes Scotty Stevenson. It also needs a complete administrative overhaul and an end to the culture of intimidation, cronyism and silence that disrespects the players and the game.
Manu Samoa players have today thanked everyone who supported the #HelpSamoa campaign of November 2017
The campaign, organised by Pacific Rugby Players Welfare - and strongly supported by the greater rugby public including fellow international and club players - was launched to raise awareness and funds, after it was revealed none of the proceeds from Tier 1 hosted matches are shared with Tier 2 Visiting sides. Manu Samoa players themselves received a mere £650 per man to play against England in front of a sell-out Twickenham stadium.
Rugby: A Super future ahead for Pacific Islanders (Gregor Paul, NZ Herald)
The Islands collectively have watched Super Rugby's progress over the past 20 years with a mixture of bitterness and bewilderment. When it all began in 1996, they had been hopeful, maybe even confident, that the invitation would roll over given they had been an integral part of the precursor Super 10 tournament.
But it never arrived because the switch to professionalism meant the rules changed. Sponsors, logistics, infrastructure and broadcast audience all had to be considered, which scuppered Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu’s “The Pacific History they don’t teach you in School” DVD Trailer (2’42)

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu Wiki and on Twitter
posted by Start with Dessert (3 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I don't like rugby but I love this post. Thank you!
posted by Thella at 9:02 PM on March 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Me too! I don't like any sports, not just rugby, but this is fascinating.

From the first link: "Politically, the European colonisers were brilliant with their “divide and conquer.” They divided the Pacific people into these little islands by destroying our boats. They went around the islands using their cannons and destroyed every single double-hulled vessel they saw. They conceded that these Pacific boats were bigger and faster. So they destroyed them to limit our people to their islands."
posted by mareli at 8:41 AM on March 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is so great to hear an outspoken Samoan voice. I was in the Peace Corps in Samoa, teaching at the flagship government school on the island his mother comes from, and while the ages are wrong for me to have taught her, guaranteed I've taught math to some of his cousins. (And I apologize profusely to them for the ghastly horrible mess I made of it.)
posted by LizardBreath at 10:25 AM on March 7, 2018

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