Tackling the big issues: The World in Union 2017 Conference

From left: Stephen Berg, director of the New Zealand Rugby Museum, Dr Rachel Batty, Massey University School of Sport and Exercise, Phil Hildred, convention marketing manager from the Central Economic Development Agency and Dr Farah Palmer, Massey University School of Management.

Dr Farah Palmer from Massey's School of Management.

As New Zealand prepares for the British and Irish Lions Tour, Massey University is pulling on its boots for a world knowledge scrum. The University will host a global rugby summit in Palmerston North during the tour.

The international rugby conference ‘The World In Union (New Zealand)’ follows on from the success of the inaugural ‘World in Union: Rugby Past, Present and Future’ global summit hosted by the University of Brighton in 2015.

The summit will kick off with a welcome ceremony at the New Zealand Rugby Museum on June 28, followed by two days of presentations and discussions at the Sport and Rugby Institute in Palmerston North on June 29 and 30.

The event will tackle the big issues facing rugby union, in addition to passing on knowledge and advice to those involved with the sport. Presentations on nationalism, culture, social issues, history, sport development, strength and conditioning, injury and prevention, coaching, performance enhancement, sponsorship, volunteer management and event management have already been confirmed. An international array of academics, practitioners and educators will attend from Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan, as well as from the length and breadth of New Zealand.

Kicking it forward

Dr Farah Palmer, senior lecturer in Massey’s School of Management and the New Zealand Rugby Union’s historic first female board member, says she is looking forward to sharing what New Zealand has to offer here at Massey and in Manawatū with delegates from Aotearoa and abroad.

“Rugby as a game, a business, an event, a passion and a cultural product is a great platform for exploring and discussing big issues in sport. The inaugural Rugby Conference held in the Northern Hemisphere kicked things off in bringing together academics and practitioners to discuss the key issues in this game,” Dr Palmer says. 

“We aim to ‘kick it forward’ with the most up-to-date information and tackle some of the really grunty, challenging and cutting edge issues rugby faces in an increasingly global and competitive environment.”

Passing on knowledge

Stephen Berg, director of the New Zealand Rugby Museum says it’s a significant gathering. “We’re excited to be able to host enthusiastic rugby philosophers, pundits, sages and reasoners in the true spiritual home of New Zealand rugby. It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our treasures and share a few stories. Understanding how rugby has developed and reached this point will help lead to better thinking about where rugby might go to in the future.”

The event coincides with the New Zealand Lions Series with an extended opportunity for conference delegates to travel to Wellington to watch the All Blacks take on the British and Irish Lions at Westpac Stadium on July 1 – if they are lucky enough to get tickets!

The conference will also showcase local services and produce with visitors experiencing and enjoying friendly Manawatū hospitality during their stay. An added bonus for participants is the chance to participate in the Palmerston North Winter Festival, which also has a specific rugby focus.

Conference director Dr Rachel Batty from Massey’s School of Sport and Exercise, says it is a privilege to be part of the team bringing this event to New Zealand. “There has been a strong show of academic and industry based interest in and support for the conference which will undoubtedly contribute to its success. I’m looking forward to welcoming the diverse range of delegates and hosting a rugby forum rich in culture and knowledge.”

Phil Hildred, convention marketing manager from the Central Economic Development Agency says, "It will be exciting for the city to host a diverse international rugby audience who will get to experience all that Manawatū has to offer, including the Palmerston North Winter Festival. Hosting the conference is a coup for our rugby-loving region and has come about because of our expertise in sports development and education, alongside the unique offering of the New Zealand Rugby Museum."

A variety of conference packages are available via the conference website and registrations are still open for academics, practitioners, or general public keen on being part of the rugby dialogue.

Enquiries can be made to the conference director, Dr Rachel Batty from Massey University’s School of Sport and Exercise.

06 951 8025

021 173 2034


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