Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are proud to announce a unique partnership with Ngāi Tahu, the South Island Iwi whose tribal takiwā (territory) extends across the majority of Te Waipounamu, the South Island of New Zealand.
The Manly players will be wearing a custom-designed strip in their match in Christchurch on June 9 against the Vodafone Warriors, which has been commissioned by Ngāi Tahu to be designed by one of its leading Māori artists and master carver, Fayne Robinson.
Manly chief executive officer Lyall Gorman says that the uniform for this special occasion highlights the club’s commitment to building 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.
“The strip will have a unique mix of Ngāi Tahu and Manly heritage and will only be worn for our matches in Christchurch,” says Gorman. “We hope that our relationship with the Canterbury region will extend far beyond those first three years and that the shirt will become synonymous with the strong bond between Manly and the people of the South Island.”
Ngāi Tahu is expecting to present the special playing uniform to Manly representatives in early April once production have been completed.
Lisa Tumahai, Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu says this partnership is 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 says he felt honoured to be asked to design a Ngāi Tahu-inspired Manly jersey and combines his two passions, Māori art and rugby league.
“The shirt design aims to represent the natural divide between our two countries and the eagle crossing the water to make his way to the South Island,” says Fayne , who also pointed out how fitting it was Ellavation, the training and mentoring programme for Indigenous Australians on the back of this special strip.
Match promotor Justin Wallace, who was a former team-mate of the artist in their Rotorua playing days, is excited that Ngāi Tahu got behind the NRL match.
“It was a priority to have Ngāi Tahu involved in this event, because Māori players make up a huge percentage of rugby league players, both locally and in the NRL.
“I am also proud of my own Māori heritage, so it was important to me to have a strong Māori flavour to this match, on and off the field,” says Wallace, who is of Te Arawa descent.
Wallace says over 3000 tickets have already been snapped up, five months from kick-off and he expects a sold-out AMI Stadium, like the Penrith Panthers match against the Warriors in 2016.
“Interestingly, we have seen our premier seating selling the fastest, as the fans are trying to take advantage of the early-bird deals.”
The organisers have introduced a staggered early-bird pricing model to reward the most decisive fans.
“Just like airline seats, the prices will increase once the allocated cheaper tickets have been snapped up,” explains Mr Wallace.
Because of the early kick-off time of 5pm, the match organisers again expect big interest among families and will offer attractive deals to make the match more affordable for family groups.
Tickets for the game can be purchased on www.ticketek.co.nz.
Manly Sea Eagles v Vodafone Warriors, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, Saturday June 9, 5pm kick-off.