The Manawatū Māori Rugby are about to kick off their first game of the season with a brand new look to be proud of. Sporting a design from one of UCOL’s very own, the team couldn’t be more excited to wear something created with aroha.
Third year Bachelor of Creative Media student, Heneriata Te Whata, is filled with joy knowing that her design will be worn by the team and make its mark on history for Manawatū Māori Rugby.
"It is so exciting to think the team will be wearing my jersey. It's my first project like this and I've been honoured to create something special that will be passed on. I've been able to create a piece of history."
Inspired by the place she now calls home, Te Whata was thrilled to be the chosen for a Workhub community job creating something special that joins UCOL with its' community.
"Being Māori myself I am proud of my heritage and so getting to work in the rugby community and learn more about that culture and the rich history Māori have with the game really inspired my design. I spent some time at the Rugby Museum at Te Manawa researching. My jersey features the original green and white colours for Manawatū as well as the double stripes that had previously featured on the players' jersey. The Taiaha represents the mana, strength, and commitment players need while the Manaia holding it represents guidance and conducting oneself with mana and respect. It is also the connection to our past present and future. The other elements are representation of our whanau, support systems, protection and connection."
Te Whata's collaboration with Manawatū Māori Rugby comes as a result of the UCOL's WorkHub from the Bachelor of Creative Media which matches creative students with industry projects.
Tahau Williams who works in Māori Student Support at UCOL also works for the Manawatū Māori Rugby as Teams Facilitator, oversaw this process with the idea of creating something meaningful for the team to wear and showcasing a student's work.
"We wanted a jersey for our players that identifies Manawatū Māori Rugby. We did some research into potential candidates; for a student who might be interested in re-designing the jersey and we knew UCOL had the talent to do it. Heneriata put up her hand for this Workhub project."
UCOL External Relations Lead, Katarina Hina, says this is another great example of how diverse UCOL Creative programmes are with the integration of Maori Art & Design.
"Our students feel that they are able to take their culture and heritage and apply it to the world."