Evoking 'New Zealandness': representations of nationalism during the (New Zealand) 2011 Rugby World Cup


  • Damion Sturm University of Waikato
  • Geoff Lealand University of Waikato




From the moment at the International Rugby Board (IRB) meeting in Dublin in November 2005, when it was announced that New Zealand would be the host nation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, it was clear this event was not just about a series of games, semi-finals and a winner. It was to be a grand event for New Zealand, which was as much about financial returns, visitor numbers and showcasing New Zealand to the rest of the world—and hopefully getting exposure beyond the usual rugby-watching nations, which can be described as ‘international’ but not necessarily ‘global’. Our article explores the representations of ‘New Zealandness’ that were evoked by holding this host nation status. However, rather the rugby itself, it is the mediated moments, nationalistic communal rituals, ancillary events and the (trans)national promotional cultures of corporate sponsors that coalesced around New Zealand and forms of nation-building that are our prime focus.