Māori-dominated sporting codes are probably the biggest loser in today’s budget. Minister for Sport and Recreation Jonathan Coleman earmarked $16 million for high-performance sport, with the aim of boosting New Zealand's performance at the Olympics in 2020.
But how does that affect Māori performing at the pinnacle of sporting success? Not one cent in this year’s budget to support the superstars of Māori traditional games and pastimes.
Auckland charitable trust, He Oranga Poutama say today's budget is yet another example of being overlooked by the Government.
He Oranga Poutama manager Wiremu Mato says, “There is no doubt that we are being affected by the Budget. But for the majority of people here, we leave that discussion for the politicians and carry on with our jobs. The numerous gold medals from the New Zealand crews at last month’s World Waka Ama Sprint Championships in Australia were still not enough to secure more funding for the sport.”
Hoturoa Kerr of Tohunga Whakatere Waka says, “For the Government to understand the true magnitude of the sport. We have seen in past years now the steady increase of prominence and now we have reached a point in time where we can say New Zealand is the best in the world.”
However, there were some winners in the Budget released today.
Touch NZ says that they have become used to funding from the Government. Although high-performance funding has been chopped from Sport NZ, there has been an increase in funding for community initiatives to grow the game.
“It wasn't specifically contingent on the outcome of the Budget released today by the Government. Sport NZ already knew what it was getting for distribution. But I would say at the moment, we're on a positive upward swing.” Says Touch NZ CEO Joe Sprangers.
Therefore, the challenge facing Māori sports in its absence from the eighth Budget of this National government.
Kerr says, “Look at what we have achieved with minor Government financial support. Give us funding to allow us to be able to achieve the required level of successes.”
It looks like Māori sporting endeavours are still a while away from reaching flux capacity in the next 12 months.