New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) is working with the sport’s national body in reviewing the way the game is being delivered, to ensure Māori and Pasifika community clubs are being included.

As part of the government’s sport recovery package announced earlier this year, New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) chief executive Greg Peters confirmed the NZMRL was providing support in the second of three phases which looked at national and regional organisations rebuilding and operating successfully post Covid-19, including new operating models and more collaboration.

Last week, former Kiwis player Tony Kemp wrote an explosive open letter to the NZRL demanding more Māori and Pasifika voices be included at the decision making table and for more funding to filter down to the grassroots game.

NZMRL chairman John Devonshire said Kemp’s letter was very real and NZRL’s current delivery model was not working across Aotearoa.

“He [Kemp] was right on the money. It was very appropriate and he’s only saying what a lot of us have been thinking. He’s passionate, he’s got a deep affiliation with the game and rugby league across a number of spectrums and I’m very supportive of him,” he said.

“I have a good relationship with NZRL and with Greg Peters over many years and I’m talking over a 20-30 year period so we’re okay. However, I do take exception to their model. I don’t think it’s working and I’m not only talking with New Zealand Māori Rugby League, but I’m talking with clubs in and around the rohe of Aoteaora.”


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