29 Feb 2012

Marae manager lauds Maori presence at Rugby World Cup

7:19 pm on 29 February 2012

The manager of a Marlborough marae says the Minister of Maori Affairs did a good job in pushing to have a Maori face at the Rugby World Cup.

Dr Pita Sharples says he was determined to include Maori culture at last year's international tournament, because tangata whenua didn't even get a look in during the America's Cup when it came to New Zealand in 2000.

He says Waka Maori for example pumped $9 million into the Auckland economy - drawing more than 180,000 people to the attraction.

Omaka marae manager Kiley Nepia says everyone watching was exposed to different aspects of Maori culture and the benefits are obvious.

He says the fact that there was a Maori face, whether that was on the waka, the karanga or kapa haka, was woven through out the whole cup.

Mr Nepia says it has given Maori a sense of identity and is certainly New Zealand's unique selling point.