Massey staff member wins at Women of Influence Awards


Dr Palmer is presented with her award at the Women of Influence gala dinner


School of Management senior lecturer and the first female elected to the board of New Zealand Rugby Dr Farah Palmer has received the 2018 Women of Influence Board and Management Award.

Dr Palmer was presented with the award at last night’s Women of Influence gala dinner held at SkyCity in Auckland. The awards recognise and celebrate women from all walks of life who make a positive difference in the lives of their fellow New Zealanders.

Specialising in leadership and sport management, Dr Palmer has been involved in the leadership of Te Au Rangahau, Massey’s Māori Business Research Centre, and helps to deliver the university’s Young Women in Leadership Programme for Year 12 students.

The former Black Ferns captain led the team to three World Cup victories between 1998 and 2006 and is recognised as one of the greatest Black Ferns of all time and one of the best female players in history.

Upon being named as a finalist in this year’s awards, she discussed how being a woman, former rugby player and academic is beneficial to her role as a New Zealand Rugby board member.

“I think I bring a diversity of thinking. I think that’s just by default when you have a different background and you’re a woman – you might see things from a different perspective. I also think I bring a critical thinking hat as an academic and have experience in the game,” she says.

“Since being on the rugby board, I’m really proud of the fact that we did the respect and responsibility review, then accepted and adopted the recommendations. We now have a respect and inclusion programme and I’ve seen some huge ground being made in that area, including the Women in Rugby conference recently and pay equity for the Black Ferns.”

Dr Palmer was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007 for services to women's rugby and sport. In 2014 she was inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame, and in 2016 the women's provincial championship was renamed the Farah Palmer Cup in recognition of her contribution to women's rugby.

Dr Palmer was one of three Massey University staff members and several students and alumni that were named as finalists in this year’s Women of Influence Awards. Fellow staff finalists were Māori student success director Naomi Manu and senior lecturer in security studies Dr Negar Partow in the Diversity category.

Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh (PhD in computer engineering, 2013) was a finalist in the Community and Not for Profit category, alongside current Master of Applied Social Work student Marie Nee. NZ On Air chief executive Jane Wrightson (Master of Business Administration, 1994) and Inland Revenue chief financial officer, Lara Ariell (Bachelor of Business Studies, 1991) were finalists in the Board and Management category. Little Yellow Bird founder and chief executive officer Samantha Rae Jones (Masters in International Security, 2014) was a finalist in the Global category, alongside current Bachelor of Arts student Shahed Abu Jwaied.

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