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RUGBY LEAGUE IN NEW ZEALAND A PEOPLE'S HISTORY
This is the history of a sport told through its communities. Rugby League in New Zealand: A People's History tells the story of a game and its supporters thriving against the odds. Beginning with the game's introduction to the country in 1907, Ryan Bodman reveals the deep-rooted connections between rugby league's development and the evolving cultural fabric of New Zealand. Inhabitants of blue-collar working-class suburbs, Irish Catholics, Kingitanga Maori, Pasifika migrants and West Coast clubs - the people behind the game share accounts of class conflict, prejudice, demographic shifts and industrial upheaval, while emphasising rugby league's lasting influence on New Zealanders' lives. Utilising oral history interviews, rugby league memorabilia and captivating illustrations, Bodman presents an engaging and unique perspective on the cultural significance of sport in New Zealand. The early animosity faced by rugby league from rugby union's governing bodies is shown as playing a pivotal role in the sport's subsequent popularity among marginalised communities across the country. By questioning the mythic status of rugby union in the nation's identity, Rugby League in New Zealand highlights how power, politics and people have collectively shaped the nation's sporting scene.Releasing October 2023
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