Cultural Identity

No matter what your background is or where you are from, your culture is a big part of who you are.

Cultural identity is about a feeling of belonging; our background and our whanau can play a massive part in that. For some people their cultural identity involves more than one group; that can be pretty special but it can also be challenging sometimes. Scroll below to read more. 

Pressure & expectations

Family, cultural or church expectations can be a challenge to balance with other parts of your life. For some rugby players one of the biggest challenges can be the high expectations and pressure placed upon them by family and friends.

This can make training and playing rugby stressful at times, as it can feel as though there are a lot of people to please! It’s important to know that you are not alone in experiencing this, lots of people have been, and are in, the same position.

Talking with teammates, a coach or someone you trust can be helpful in finding ways to manage the added pressure. Talking with family about how you feel can help you, as well as them, understand your experience better.

Feeling homesick

It is very common to experience feelings of homesickness when you are away from your home or family. It can feel daunting, upsetting and challenging to figure out where you belong and to feel comfortable.

It’s important to remember that your culture and your history can be a real source of strength and courage. Having people around you who can support you to stay connected with your culture can help you maintain your mental fitness and wellbeing.

Leaning on others

A Samoan proverb states “My strength does not come from me alone, but from many”. Even though you may be away from your family or your home, it’s important to maintain those cultural links and relationships. Getting involved in your community or church can be a huge source of strength. Talking and learning about our culture and history can help us feel like we belong. 

Sometimes it can be hard to open up to our families and elders, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still get support when we need it. Other friends and support people can be a great help. Even if they don’t belong to the same culture, having someone to listen and to talk to will help to start getting things sorted. 

Different Cultures

One of the best things about New Zealand is the unique mix of people and cultures. It’s important to acknowledge the different ways our cultures interpret and view wellbeing and mental fitness, what works for one person might be quite different for someone else. The rugby community is made up of people from all different backgrounds and cultures and understanding what mental fitness and wellbeing may mean for you and others is helpful.

Have a read below for some information on different cultural aspects of wellbeing as well as some useful links.



Strategies & Tips

Having a sense of belonging and connection to your culture can make a massive difference to your own wellbeing and mental fitness. If you’re finding it difficult to feel connected then trying some of these tips and strategies is a good place to start.

Learn More About Your Background

Try speaking to your family or other people within your community to grow your understanding of your background and strengthen your own links to your culture.

Get Involved In Your Community

This could mean going to your local church, helping out with community projects or even helping those in your neighbourhood. Offering your time and energy to help others is a great way to feel connected.

Talk To Someone You Trust

Let them know how you’re feeling and ask them if they have any ideas or advice on what you could do to improve how you’re feeling.

Arrange To Spend Time With Family

Whether this is in person, over the phone or on skype, making time to enjoy the company of your family is a really important part of keeping everyone’s cultural identity feeling strong.

Get it sorted

This information and the tips above are a great place to start if you’re finding aspects of your cultural identity tough. If you’ve found yourself feeling down or worrying a lot about any of the topics above, or just in general, it might be worth exploring further. Le Va is a site that provides support to Pasifika families and communities to look after their health an wellbeing. 

For more ideas and tips on how to explore your cultural identity have a look at