Tag archives for Sustainable Livelihoods

Rugby union driven migration as a means for sustainable livelihoods creation: A case study of iTaukei, indigenous Fijians

Due to their sporting potential, young Fijian rugby athletes have become a highly sought-after sport migrant group. For many Fijian families, rugby-generated remittances are a critical step towards income security and can contribute towards achieving social and economic development goals at the household and community level. Despite the prospect that migrant athletes should be able to dramatically improve their economic positioning and that of their family back home, the promise and opportunities do not seem to be fully realised, especially in the longer term. By drawing on survey findings of 70 Fijian athletes, as well as fieldwork undertaken in Fiji and New Zealand, where 33 in-depth interviews occurred, this paper asks: What is the potential development impact of rugby-generated remittances for iTaukei, indigenous Fijian families and what are some of the challenges athletes and/or their families face ensuring any gains make a difference in the longer term? Findings suggest that for many athletes and their families, rugby-generated remittances make a significant contribution, which enables them to meet consumption needs and wants and allows for capital accumulation (tangible and intangible). Thus the potential development impact is seen to be substantial. However, cultural expectations and often related high demands from family, poor financial literacy and limited business opportunities at home are some of the things impacting any sustained effect. The uneven playing field and politics of the rugby landscape were also raised as areas of concern when thinking about rugby as a sustainable livelihoods option for iTaukei.