If you want a say in shaping New Zealand rugby culture, then you'd best get writing
Want to play a part in reshaping rugby culture? Well, now you can.
New Zealand Rugby's (NZR) respect and responsibility review panel wants New Zealanders to share their stories to help with its review of the game's culture.
An online mailbox has been set up to allow people to tell to their own stories and make suggestions. It can be found here.
Chaired by Law Society President Kathryn Beck, the panel is researching and reviewing NZR policies, processes and programmes.
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The panel was set up after a series of 2016 incidents involving high level rugby players.
A woman complained she was mistreated by the Chiefs at an end of season function, where she was working as a stripper, then two women and two men were assaulted at 3am in Wellington by Losi Filipo, later contracted to Wellington Rugby.
Last month Mid-Canterbury player Kolinio Yabia Tamanitoakula, 25, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with intent to commit sexual violation, following a night out in Gisborne in October 2016.
While the panel, set up in November, had already heard from many people, it wanted the public to share their own experiences, Beck said.
"We want to hear people's stories - whether it's based on experiences with rugby or suggestions you've got for making a difference to the way rugby is delivered in New Zealand – we feel listening to people's stories will be an important part of ensuring that our work makes a difference," Beck said.
The panel has held interviews, talked to focus groups and held workshops with members of the rugby community and other key stakeholders, and still is.
"We are keen to hear from as many people as possible," Beck said.
These stories will help to direct our thinking around identifying the issues that need examining and developing some approaches to addressing them and building on the positives. All this input will help to make a difference."
Beck said she was encouraged by the conversations already held with New Zealand Rugby.
"It is clear that a drive for change is coming from within rugby, and there is a genuine desire to be responsible, respectful, and to be leaders in the community in this regard."
"Rugby in New Zealand is in a unique position where it should be able to inspire and encourage New Zealanders – young and old – to be the very best people they can be."
Panel members: Law Society President Kathryn Beck; Sport New Zealand board member and former netball administrator Jackie Barron; New Zealand Cricket and Hurricanes board member Liz Dawson; former World Anti-Doping Agency head David Howman; HR and communications executive Kate Daly; former All Blacks Michael Jones and Keven Mealamu; former All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson; Olympic Gold medallist Lisa Carrington. Robyn Cockburn is supporting the review as researcher and writer.