Panel formed to advise FIFA Women’s World Cup organisers on cultural inclusion

Organisers of the FIFA Women’s World Cup have taken steps to recognise the unique cultures and stories of both host countries to ensure they are respected throughout all aspects of next year’s tournament.

A six-person cultural panel — First Sisters of Country, whānau by sea and sky — has been appointed featuring three First Nations Australians and three Māori from Aotearoa New Zealand.

They will provide advice, based on their collective cultural expertise and knowledge to ensure that First Nations and Tangata Whenua voices inform cultural engagement initiatives for the tournament.

FWWC2023 Head of Sustainability Sheila Nguyen says to recognise and respect the Indigenous cultures, it is critical to involve First Nations and Māori experts who can guide organisers on how to do so appropriately and respectfully across all aspects of the tournament.

“We feel First Nations and Māori cultures represented at the FWWC2023 will stimulate cultural pride across Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

“As a non-Indigenous organisation, we have introduced this notable panel of women to guide and advise us. We welcome all participating nations to our shores, and we ask that First Nations and Māori countries, land and sea, are respected.”

Click above to watch FIFA’s presentation on its Women’s World Cup branding identity.

Audiences have already been given a glimpse of how the two cultures are being respected through the tournament branding.

All tournament host cities feature the English wording alongside te reo Māori and First Nations Australian Traditional Place name translations.

All tournament milestone events, including the official Māori welcome at the FWWC2023 Draw, feature cultural elements to raise the profile of First Nations and Tangata Whenua communities in football.

Māori panel members (Aotearoa New Zealand):

Riann Umaga-Marshall.
Ata Te Kanawa.
Janelle Riki-Waaka.

Riann Umaga-Marshall is a mother, businesswoman and proud wahine Māori of Ngai te Rangi and Whakatohea descent. She is on the Board of New Zealand Football and is a voice for Māori/Indigenous women in a number of areas from business to sport and community initiatives.

Ata Te Kanawa (Ngāti Maniapoto) proudly identifies as Māori. She has extensive experience in spearheading and heralding Indigenous initiatives. With an Indigenous communications background, she works as a specialist in Māori Engagement for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for the New Zealand Government.

Janelle Riki-Waaka (Tainui, Ngāti Hauiti ki Rātā) is one of two Kaiwhakahaere (Directors) of Riki Consultancy. She is a highly experienced consultant specialising in areas such as developing cultural competencies, Te Tiriti o Waitangi education and digital technologies.

First Nations panel members (Australia)

Selina Holtze, a proud Aboriginal woman with strong cultural ties and connection to the Yawuru, Gurindji and Jingili peoples was the first Aboriginal woman board director for football in Australia. She works hand in hand with Football Northern Territory, the Peak Body for Football in the North, providing cultural and strategic advice to design and deliver grassroots football programmes to regional and remote Aboriginal communities across the North.

Dr Karen Menzies is an Indigenous Australian woman from the Wonnarua people in the Hunter Valley, in New South Wales and was the first Indigenous woman to represent her country and play for the Matildas. She has an extensive background working in child protection, education, health, human rights, and welfare services as a practitioner, academic, researcher and training consultant. She is a current lecturer at the University of Newcastle.

Courtney Hagen is a proud Butchulla and Gubbi Gubbi woman from K’gari and General Manager First Nations Football at Football Australia. Prior to that, she held the role of First Nations and Social Inclusion Specialist at Cricket Australia.

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