New Zealand to play as 'Aotearoa' in 1st ODI against Zimbabwe
The New Zealand cricket team will play under the name ‘Aotearoa’ during the 1st ODI against Zimbabwe, ESPNCricinfo reports. The move is a part of the celebrations of Maori Language Week, and Aotearoa – New Zeland’s name in Maori – will be depicted on the front of the team’s shirts.
Maori is the language spoken by the indigenous people of New Zealand and is one of the country’s official languages. The Maori Language Week is an annual event that has been celebrated every year since 1975 and the 2015 edition is being held from 27 July – August 2.
With the World Cup finalists kicking off the three-match One-Day series on Saturday, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has decided to join in with the celebrations.
Want to reach out to non-cricket-loving community: NZ Cricket
"Cricket is a wonderful game that anyone can play, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or culture,” NZC chief executive David White said, as reported by ESPNCricinfo. "We just need to make sure everyone feels it's accessible and welcoming which is part of the reason for reaching out this week."
"New Zealand Cricket want to extend cricket's reach and make it more welcoming to communities not always closely aligned with the game," White added, stating the motive behind the move. "It's something we haven't done particularly well in the past.”
"We've been too one dimensional in our approach and especially in regard to addressing under-representation in certain communities. But we have to start somewhere,” he said, according to ESPNCricinfo.
White also added that NZC would be launching various cricket-playing programmes with the intention of spreading the game among the nation’s communities.