Badminton New Zealand Chief Executive Joe Hitchcock says he would like to see more Māori take up the sport. Hitchcock also believes that the Māori culture is one of the key elements for overseas born players to feel included in their representative sides.
Hitchcock believes that this is a sport that many have potential to succeed in.
“I think it's definitely a demographic that we want to work more with and engage Māori communities.”
“We would love to see more Māori playing Badminton more regularly.”
There are many aspects of Badminton that Hitchcock believes will resonate with Māori.
“It's fast, it requires a massive amount of speed and power, but also tactics and touch as well.”
New Zealand representative Tamara Otene (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) is a prime example of a young Māori player who has taken to the shuttlecock like a duck to water.
“Tamara's a great person first and foremost. She's got a fantastic whānau (family), and amazing support.”
Recently, Badminton New Zealand has incorporated Māori culture as a means to include representative players born in places like Asia.
“Some of those pieces are very [sic] entwined I think with Māori culture, especially with the haka.”
“It has been an amazing journey for those players to learn, get out of their shell, [and] feel that they are part of our team and our culture.”
It is only a matter of time before more players like Otene are representing New Zealand. Badminton New Zealand will be happy to see more Māori at the top.