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Palmer named on NZ Rugby board

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/12/2016
Dr Farah Palmer poses with the Farah Palmer Cup during a portrait session on May 25, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand © Phil Walter/Getty Images for NZRU Dr Farah Palmer poses with the Farah Palmer Cup during a portrait session on May 25, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand

Former Black Ferns great Farah Palmer has become the first woman to win inclusion on the board of New Zealand Rugby.

The three-time World Cup-winning skipper was unanimously elected as the board's Maori representative following the retirement of Wayne Peters.

The 44-year-old is the first female board member in NZR's 124-year history.

Her promotion comes at a time when rugby's attitude towards women has been widely criticised following a series of off-field incidents at various levels of the game.

The lack of diversity in governance has also been highlighted.

Palmer says rugby in New Zealand is "not without its challenges" but was still in good heart given the performance of its national teams and the growing numbers of women players and improved pathways for Maori.

She believes she can provide a different perspective, "ensuring NZR continues to meet the high expectations of not just Maori, but all New Zealanders".

Chairman Brent Impey stressed Palmer's elevation wasn't in response to negative headlines through the second half of 2016.

He says her achievements and mana made her the logical person to replace the long-serving Peters.

Palmer is a senior lecturer at Massey University's School of Management and is a director in the university's Maori business and leadership centre.

A World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee, she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007 for services to women's rugby and sport.

Earlier this year, the women's provincial championship was renamed the Farah Palmer Cup in recognition of her contribution.

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