Aotearoa - paying homage to tangata whenua

Apparel partner Canterbury of New Zealand and the Vodafone Warriors have combined to produce 'Aotearoa', the club's 2019 Indigenous jersey, which recognises and pays respect to Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.

The jersey will be worn by the Vodafone Warriors when they host their traditional rivals the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL's 2019 Indigenous Round at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday, May 25 (7.30pm kick-off).

Māori customs were fully integrated into the annual Indigenous Round for the first time this year when the Vodafone Warriors faced Sydney Roosters. The day featured cultural performances, a gift exchange and a whakatau (traditional welcome) for the Roosters. The 2018 jersey design was dominated by a toa (warrior), armed with a patu, while the back featured Rangitoto Island, connecting the club with Auckland.

For 2019, Canterbury of New Zealand has produced a powerful jersey acknowledging tangata whenua (people of the land), the indigenous people of New Zealand.

The top half of the jersey captures the country's landscape, its mountains and waterways. Triangle shapes symbolise the mountains while the koru represents mist, clouds and swirling winds reaching up to the heavenly domain of Ranginui (the sky father). The waves break the shore below the mountains and here can be seen rivers and lakes flowing to meet the sea.

The koru and kowhaiwhai, which feature throughout the design, represent growth, reaching upward toward the light, positivity, nurturing and protection. They also provide a connection to the earthly domain of Papatuanuku (the earth mother).

The design is placed on the front and back and represents the North Island and South Island. This pays respect to the kaitaiaki (guardians) of our land and the warrior whanau (family/fan base).

Everything is interconnected and there is great power in these connections. They unite the people and the country.

The bottom half of the jersey and the sleeves are kowhaiwhai patterns. These symbols represent attitude, ability and mindset.

Mangopare (hammerhead shark) symbolises attitude, determination and heart – never give in and never surrender, very much a representation of the warrior spirit.

Mangotipi (great white shark) represents speed, power and agility.

Koiri is a pattern which means to flourish. It is the koru repeating and turning back on itself, continuing to infinity. It also represents self-reflection and nurturing.

The colour of the jersey and the shades of grey represent the clouds – Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud – and the silver nature pays respect to the silver fern, the country's national symbol.

'Aotearoa' is available for purchase now right here or by visiting the Vodafone Warriors' Super Store at Mt Smart Stadium (open from 10.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday).