For just the second time, New Zealand’s indigenous Māori people and culture are being officially recognised in this week’s NRL’s Indigenous Round.
Until Māori were embraced last year, the theme of the round was focused solely on indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.
Throughout that time, the Vodafone Warriors have been committed to acknowledging not just the Māori people but also the Pasifika community and culture.
On Saturday the Vodafone Warriors will mark the 2019 Indigenous Round round in a number of ways including the Canterbury of New Zealand-designed jersey Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and his players will wear into battle against the Brisbane Broncos on Rarotonga Mount Smart Stadium.
Paying respect to Māori-tangata whenua (people of the land) – New Zealand’s indigenous people – the design is rich in significance and meaning.
The triangle shapes symbolise the country’s 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 (throughout the design) represent growth – reaching upward toward the light – positivity, nurturing and protection. They also represent 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 the land and the Vodafone Warriors’ whanau (family/fan base).
Everything is interconnected and there is great power in these connections. They unite us.
The bottom half of the jersey and the sleeves are kowhaiwhai patterns. Through these symbols attitude, ability and mindset are represented.
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) symbolises speed, power and agility.
Koiri (pattern 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 silver nature pays respect to our silver fern, our national symbol.