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Farah Palmer ONZM

NZ Black Ferns rugby legend

Travels From:
Palmerston North

Consultant, Facilitator, MC, Sporting Icon, Speaker

Insightful, Engaging, Impactful, Passionate, Professional, Inspiring, Down to earth

Communication, Inspiration, Leadership, Resilience, Strategy, Teams, Sport, Sporting icon, Women in business

Dr Farah Palmer is perhaps best known for her role as the former captain of the NZ Black Ferns – the New Zealand Women’s Rugby World Cup Champions (whose success on the international stage far exceeds any other sport currently played in NZ!)

Farah grew up in Piopio in the King Country - she graduated Bachelor of Physical Education in 1994 and gained a PhD in sociology of sport at Otago University in 2000. She played netball competitively and other sports socially as a college student, and started playing rugby as an Otago student in 1992. 

In 1995 Farah made the Black Ferns team as the reserve hooker and in 1997 was honoured to captain the team, a role she continued to fulfill at both the 1998 and 2002 World Cup tournaments which the Black Ferns won.  She has also 'dabbled' in bodybuilding (in 2003), and enjoyed taking part in one-off events such as women's triathlons, the Great Lake Relay race, and other fun runs.

Farah’s efforts in sport have been acknowledged over the years and she was voted Maori Sportsperson of the Year in 1998 and 2006, and IRB International Women's Personality of the Year in 2005 she was inducted into the Wall of Fame at the School of Physical Education, University of Otago early in 2006 and was nominated for Halberg Sportswoman of the year 2006 – she was awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to women's rugby and sport

Farah was a member of the Taskforce on New Zealand Sport in 2000 (which played a significant role in the formation of SPARC) and is currently a member of the New Zealand Sports Disputes Tribunal. She was a member of the IRB Women's Advisory Committee in 2004-05 which developed an international strategic plan for women's rugby and was accepted by the IRB in 2006.  In 2007 she was a TV presenter on the popular Maori Television sports show – CODE.

Farah is also well regarded in academia for her expertise on Maori and gender issues in sport with a PhD in Sociology.  She has a passion for Maori research and development and she’s a member of the Centre of Research Excellence – Maori and Academy of Maori Research and Scholarship. as well as being the Director of the Maori Business Research Centre at Massey University.

In 2006, Farah announced her retirement from the Black Ferns at the end of an 11 year international career having captained 31 of 35 tests.  She enjoys rugby and sees the NZRU coaching courses as a really good way to pass on her knowledge and experience, and excellent leadership skills.

Farah’s life philosophy is one of continually striving to achieve balance, seek out challenges – she combines her first-hand experience in international level sport with her ability to analyse the bigger picture through academic research and philosophy to make sometimes complicated concepts and ideas more real and understandable.

She has a relaxed yet professional delivery style builds rapport easily with audiences of all levels. Her approachable manner means that whether speaking to a group of 500 or five, people from all levels can relate to her and she also enjoys interactive workshops.

Whether you are looking for an inspiring keynote speaker, a facilitator or an entertaining after dinner speaker, Farah has a wealth of experiences to share with you:

Guest Speaker - After Dinner Speaker:
Farah is an entertaining, inspirational, informative and thought-provoking speaker. She is able to adapt her message to appeal to a variety of audiences – from community to corporate groups, all genders, youth and elderly. 

Farah’s approachable manner and leadership experience means she is ideal for interactive workshops and group facilitation, consultancy and research work. Primarily in the areas of sport management, coaching, teambuilding, leadership, goal setting, life balance, cross-cultural communication, gender issues, and cultural issues in sport. 

Farah is an expert mentor for areas relating to sport, lifestyle, education and governance duties - particularly for not-for-profit organisations. She has thorough experience working as a National Mentor for Te Puni Kokiri.

Farah has a wide range of experiences to draw from as a consultant to corporate groups, community groups, not for profit organisations and teams!


Farah's warm personality and relaxed style enables her to build rapport with any audience - she's intelligent, has an excellent sense of humour and proven leadership skills.