About 'Athletes of Excellence'Background Athletes of Excellence Pty Ltd (AOE), has been created, initially, to address the broad spectrum of cultural differences and nuances experienced by the growing Polynesian demographic within the rugby league playing arenas of the NRL.
To understand how best to educate this growing demographic in the pursuit of excellence, an understanding of cultural diversity, its roots and past behaviours need to be viewed from an holistic approach to the background ‘story’.
This suggests that we must travel backwards first to gain an accurate account of ‘who we are’ before we can go forward as individuals.
Historical Account “Polynesian cultures are centred upon the principle of relationships between people. Importantly, these relationships are based upon mutual respect.
Polynesian migration for improved opportunities were influenced by the policies of the territories around them. Of particular relevance is NZ and the liberal policies created to attract a labour reserve in the 1950/60’s as their economy underwent an industrial transformation. This was a result of the development of an import-substitution manufacturing base. Thus the advent of an increased quota system and the ‘Treaty of Friendship” between NZ and Samoa as well as work permit schemes and modern air travel greatly aided the influx of the Polynesian workforce demographic.
These extended families represented a new collective strategy in creating multi-local and multinational communities of kin, but these families still maintained strong connections to the places they term home, as we can see from the Australian perspective.
The migratory nature of this demographic depended upon the oral retention of its native traditions. However, the further the distance from the source they became, so too, the lesser the adherence to those values and the greater the independence of ‘free thinking’ permitted outside of the limitations of core traditional family values. This demographic begins to adopt and adapt to the local communities and environments with its newer liberal tolerances. This demographic now has to assimilate on their own, under different cultural pressures.
Arriving at the present day, we find a new class of Polynesian. This class have to employ and engage a new set of tools about which they have limited understanding.
In the football context, we have Polynesian footballers disconnected from their country of heritage. They no longer have the collective communal support group found in the immediate and extended family structure,. They are ‘on their own’. Thus they find traditional and customary values and premise no longer suit the new environment and find it challenging and uncomfortable. They seek out familiar surroundings within pockets of similar cultures, dispersed, yet at the same time, in groups within the same suburbs of residence. Unfortunately, they are only increasing the regressive attitudes of the existing demographic, who are also tenuously holding onto what it knows best. Thus, we have a collective loss of identity, struggling to assimilate into their new surroundings and environments.
Problematic in the current situation as it relates to Polynesian rugby league players, is the thrust into new social brackets or classes by virtue of their increased capacity to earn ‘good money’ by becoming contracted players. It is important to note that these are very young men with little experience of the new responsibilities this brings. Past belief systems do not provide enough guidance under these new responsibilities and the expectations that come with them. Families begin to exert increased pressures on these young men as support of the family is a new expectation and added responsibility. Remittances are a common issue that become an unwanted and unrealistic burden to add to this.
There is now a reasonable onus of responsibility that must fall on the shoulders of these young athletes to successfully integrate into the new culture and environment. They must make the necessary adjustments to succeed or they will fail, as many have and will continue to do if they are not given the required assistance along the way. They need to be taught to embrace their new surroundings and culture to enrich their own cultural diversity of understanding and awareness. The other option is to recede into oneself under a cloud of negativity, doubt, suspicion and worse, depression. These can become very troubling thoughts and emotions for an individual to bear without the right support structures around them.
Current Situation AOE combines people and businesses with solid ties to rugby league with an understanding of Polynesian culture and more importantly, an awareness of the difficulties experienced by its young rugby league players.
It is our goal to provide the necessary services required by these young athletes to guide them into pathways designed for excellence and success in rugby league.
AOE will endeavour to run programs designed to enhance each individual athlete in both physical and mental perspectives, each perspective equally as important as the other.
People Darrell Williams Darrell Williams Consulting Pty Ltd- Director Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Ltd- Director Manly Warringah Rugby League Football Club-Director Nth Sydney Men of League Foundation- Vice President Sea Eagles Old Boys Association Inc.- Chairman
Annie Rogers/ Luke Marshall Valued Athletes Pty Ltd- Directors
Micah Roberts SMARP- Managing Director
William Toilolo SMARP- Director of Sales
Brent Reihana Mantra Business Solutions- Director KiwiTV- Director