Vodafone Warriors players paraded the full spectrum of colours when they wore personally designed cultural football boots in the NRL’s Indigenous Round and now the works of art – individually signed – have fetched almost $2500 after being auctioned.
Along with the Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers and Gold Coast Titans, the Vodafone Warriors supported the Boots for Brighter Futures cause in the fight against indigenous youth suicide in New Zealand and Australian communities.
An auction was held for the public to bid on the boots with proceeds helping the Boots for Brighter Futures charity with its cause.
When Vodafone Warriors players were asked in January whether they were interested in supporting the initiative, 22 were in the queue. With injuries and players returning home having an impact, a group of 10 players ultimately had their own cultural boots designed for the Indigenous Round encounter with Wests Tigers on July 31.
The Vodafone Warriors won the contest 26-20 with cultural footy boot wearers – Peta Hiku and Tohu Harris – scoring three of the team’s four tries between them.
“We worked with young people at Korowai Manaaki to design the boots,” said Vodafone Warriors community relations coordinator Georgia Hale.
“Designs recognising each player’s heritage started with design concepts on paper which were then transferred onto the canvas – the boots – using fabric pens, vivids, paint, the works.”
After a number of workshops, the finished boots were collected, photographed at the Vodafone Warriors’ office at Mount Smart Stadium and freighted to the team’s base in Terrigal in time for the players to wear at the captain’s run on the eve of the clash against the Tigers.
After the win over the Tigers, the players signed their boots ready for auction.
The players who had boots designed for them by youth at Korowai Manaaki were Isaiah Papali'i, Tohu Harris, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Jazz Tevaga, Eliesa Katoa, Peta Hiku, Patrick Herbert, Lachlan Burr, Josh Curran and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.