The custom-designed Ngāi Tahu jersey for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles matches in Christchurch will become a unique sought-after item for sports fans in New Zealand and Australia, says Manly CEO Lyall Gorman.
Manly commissioned a specially designed jersey from Ngāi Tahu artist Fayne Robinson for the match against the Vodafone Warriors in Christchurch on June 9.
Dr Te Maire Tau, Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Upoko, unveiled the unique design during a pōwhiri (welcome) for the Manly representatives at Tuahiwi Marae.
Ngāi Tahu is the South Island iwi (tribe) whose tribal takiwā (territory) extends across the majority of Te Waipounamu (the South Island of New Zealand), and Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri are the hāpū (sub-tribe) of Ngāi Tahu for the Christchurch city region.
Gorman said he felt honoured to be welcomed in such a powerful manner by the local iwi and to be presented with the new uniform, the first Ngāi Tahu shirt to be created for any sporting code.
“The strip has a unique mix of Ngāi Tahu and Manly heritage and will only be worn for our matches in Christchurch,” says Gorman. “This jersey underlines Manly’s commitment to a long-term partnership with Christchurch and its community.”
Manly has signed up to play home matches at AMI Stadium in 2018 and 2019 with an option for a third match in 2020.
“We hope that this jersey will become synonymous with the strong bond between Manly and the people of the South Island and that our relationship with the Canterbury region will extend far beyond those first three years.”
Lisa Tumahai, Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, said that partnership was a great opportunity to advocate hauora and well-being with our whānau and showcase Ngāi Tahu culture and identity.
“Ngāi Tahu whānau will have a real sense of pride when they see the players take the field with Fayne’s art front and centre,” says Lisa.
Master carver Fayne Robinson explains that the shirt design aims to represent the natural divide between Australia and New Zealand and the eagle crossing the water to make his way to the South Island.
“It is also fitting to have Ellavation on the back of this strip, as they run training and mentoring programmes for Indigenous Australians,” said Robinson.
Match promotor Justin Wallace said that it had been a priority for his team to get Ngāi Tahu involved in the event.
“Māori players make up a huge percentage of rugby league players, both locally and in the NRL, so it was important to have a strong Māori flavour to this match, on and off the field,” said Wallace, who himself is proud of his Te Arawa descent.
Wallace over the past weeks has encouraged fans to get their tickets soon because the best tickets were selling fast. “Especially since the Warriors have started winning so many games, the interest has increased ten-fold and the ticket sales have taken off.”
The organisers have introduced a staggered pricing model to reward the most decisive fans, and Wallace said fans should not delay, or risk to miss out on cheaper seats or miss out altogether.
Based on the recent sales, Wallace expects a sold-out AMI Stadium, like the Penrith Panthers match against the Warriors in 2016.
“And we are now even talking to the Crusaders to possibly install extra seating on the North side to increase the capacity to over 22,000. But there are still plenty of tickets left.”
Tickets for the game can be purchased on www.ticketek.co.nz/manlywarriors
This custom-designed Ngāi Tahu jersey is available now for pre-order in both men’s and kids sizes. Stock is expected to be received in mid-May with international shipping available.
Jerseys can be pre-ordered at https://store.seaeagles.com.au/jersey
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Vodafone Warriors, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, Saturday June 9, 5pm kick-off.