adidas has unveiled this special edition Māori All Blacks jersey for the men in black as they prepare for battle against the British & Irish Lions during the DHL New Zealand Lions Series in Rotorua on Saturday 17 June.
Designed by New Zealand Rugby Kaumātua Luke Crawford, and renowned Māori artist Dave Burke, the jersey pays the ultimate homage to well-respected leader of the Te Arawa people, Mita Hikairo Mohi.
Both Crawford and Burke are former students of Mohi’s, and have taken great care in placing each element of the design on the jersey, honouring the thousands of young men who have also had Mohi’s knowledge and stories handed down to them at Wananga schools of learning on Lake Rotorua’s Mokoia Island.
When the Māori All Blacks take to the field, they are warriors. The warrior stance on the front of the jersey reflects this and serves two purposes. Firstly, it is an intimidating tribute to New Zealand’s history and one of the most prominent elements for opponents when seeing the jersey for the first time, and secondly, it connects the wearer to the spiritual realm, reminding them that they are not walking alone.
On the back of the jersey, with four eyes looking in all directions, the taiaha offers spiritual protection to the players, providing a watchful eye over the wearer at all times. The intricately patterned arms represent whakapapa and connectedness to each player’s whānau and iwi.
And finally, the elaborately decorated handles of the spear shaped fighting clubs on both sides of the jersey pay tribute to Mita Mohi’s dedication to the traditional Māori fighting art of mau taiaha.
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