Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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#LoveRugbyRespectWomen: An exploratory study of women's interactions with New Zealand rugby culture in the night-time economy

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posted on 2021-12-07, 16:11 authored by Courtney, Genevieve

Following recent high-profile allegations of gender-based violence perpetrated by professional rugby players in contexts involving alcohol in New Zealand, concerns regarding the safety of women in the context of New Zealand rugby culture have emerged. Despite these concerns, no previous studies have explored how rugby culture is enacted in gendered environments where alcohol is consumed, nor has research considered how women in these environments perceive or experience rugby culture. This research addresses an important literature gap, by exploring how women working in licensed leisure venues perceive and experience New Zealand rugby culture. Applying a feminist lens, this qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews with fifteen women who had experience working in New Zealand’s night-time economy. This study found that experiences of violence, degradation, and sexual objectification were a routine and expected part of the women’s interactions with rugby culture. These experiences profoundly impacted their ability to enjoy and participate in rugby, compromised their feelings of workplace safety and satisfaction, and contributed to a range of adverse mental health outcomes. While alcohol was considered to exacerbate antisocial behaviours within rugby culture, the participants identified multiple pathways to rugby-related violence, all of which can be linked to a ‘Kiwi bloke’ version of masculinity that prizes heterosexuality, toughness, and alcohol consumption. Based on these findings, this research concludes that in gendered environments that involve alcohol, New Zealand rugby culture cannot be considered a safe culture for women. This study therefore emphasises the need to prioritise ways of addressing attitudes, behaviours, and approaches to masculinity within rugby culture that may be conducive to gender-based violence and, given the cultural dominance of rugby in New Zealand, serves as an urgent call for further empirical research to inform the development of violence prevention and management strategies.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

University Library

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Armstrong, Lynzi; Hutton, Fiona