Dr Farah Palmer
“I have always felt connected to awa (river). My great grandmother’s whānau are from the Whanganui River, I lived close to the Mokau River as a child, and lived a year in Hamilton next to the Waikato River. The Manawatū River seemed to speak to me and drew me to Palmerston North.“
“I love the convenience of living in Manawatū, the intimacy of the city, the many activities and diverse vibe of a family-friendly and optimistic place to call home. The city speaks to me of lifelong learning, of working together in harmony, and of quiet yet strong leadership – a bit like the river really!”
As captain of the New Zealand Black Ferns rugby team, Dr Farah Palmer led the team to victory in three consecutive World Cups and had the honour of wearing the Black Jersey of the Black Ferns 35 times. In 2005 she was awarded International Women’s Personality of the Year by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and in 2014 was one of six women inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.
Since her retirement from rugby in 2006, Farah has combined her experience of sport, tertiary education, and diverse identities with her desire to bring about social and cultural change through education, strategic decision-making, and storytelling.
Passionate about women in leadership, Farah became the first woman to be appointed to the board of New Zealand Rugby in 2016 and continues as the only woman in that role today. She is the Chair of the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and in 2018 joined the Sport New Zealand Board.
Farah believes we need to challenge the way we perceive how success and excellence are achieved, and what ‘effective’ leadership is. She encourages us to be kinder to ourselves and others in the process of lifelong learning, hence her support of the KindHearts initiative in the Manawatū, and her desire to be involved in programmes that encourage diverse women to pursue leadership without losing sight of their own values and identities.
Farah has used her spheres of influence as a Māori and Pākehā woman, an academic and sports person to challenge dominant ideologies and discourses related to Māori, women, leadership and business.