Taufa and Paulo to advance Pasifika & Maori interests


True Blues Simaima Taufa and Junior Paulo have been appointed to a new RLPA (Rugby League Players Association) committee known as the Mana Group aimed at giving a stronger voice to Pasifika and Maori players.

Taufa, whose parents are from Tonga and Paulo whose family is Samoan, join four other current players from the NRLW and NRL to listen to the issues they and their communities face in the Rugby League world and advocate on their behalf.

In Maori and many Pacific Islander cultures, the term 'mana' refers to the spiritual life force, status or authority given to people, places and objects.

Mana was chosen by the eight foundation members – former players Feleti Mateo and David Mead have been added as advisors - and is a fitting name for the influence and direction of this new RLPA  advisory group. 

The main brief is for the Mana Group to help grow the number of Pasifika and Maori players at the elite level of the game – the NRL and NRLW – as well as being the avenue by which players can raise issues affecting them.

 “We're representing our Pasifika and Maori brothers and sisters, building strategy plans that will create pathways and opportunities for our people,” Taufa told the RLPA website.  

“We will be engaging with stakeholders and providing feedback in matters that directly affect Pasifika and Maori communities, ensuring that our feedback is taken into consideration before decisions are made.”

Paulo added: “We need a voice in today’s game. In a day and age where it’s such a culturally diverse game, it’s the right time for us to have a voice.

“I want to be able to voice our opinions and to have a say, and to create a foundation for the next generations. 

“I feel that it’s a space that hasn’t been unlocked yet in the game.”