Exchanging cultural gifts is a pre-match feature throughout the NRL’s Indigenous Round and tonight Vodafone Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will present his North Queensland counterpart Jordan McLean with a highly-prized patu.
A patu, a weapon favoured by toa (warriors), is given as a mark of respect and shows the esteem in which one is held (in this case the North Queensland team). A symbol of strength and courage, it signifies high status and authority.
The carving being presented tonight features four manaia, directly linked to the manaia on the Vodafone Warriors’ 2021 Indigenous Round jersey (which will be worn in the club’s 14th-round encounter with Melbourne in Gosford on June 13).
A manaia is a spiritual guardian who Māori regard as the unseen light surrounding each of us. A manaia is also likened to a bird sitting on your shoulders guiding your spirit as well as being a symbol of protection. The four manaia depicted on the patu represent whānau, fans and both clubs.
Carved from rimu, it was created by renowned carver John Burke, who carved many pieces for the Vodafone Warriors over the years. Hiss son Dave is the club’s long-time jersey designer.