Due to issues with my brain stabbing at my eye and punching my temples from the inside (or a "migraine") I wasn't able to get to the second coolest uniform launch of the year: The New Zealand Māori Centenary strip.
I'm not a fan of symbolic cultural designs on uniforms. Not for any reason other than I'm a fan of simple uniforms – plain colours and stripes – and cultural designs tend to be a bit... busy. Having said that I sort of like Te Ao Hou, because it's mainly black and white with the design embossed onto the jersey.
Here are the pics (click for a bigger look):
As you can see by the numbers on the design, EVERYTHING means SOMETHING. Even the adidas triple stripe has a deeper meaning:
In keeping with the rest of the jersey, the three adidas stripes on the arms of the jersey symbolically represent the Maihi (arms of the meeting house), and the three stripes also pay respect to the past, present and future of Māori rugby.
I don't buy it either. But continuing the stripes, like rope, down the sides to join the four winds is a nice touch. The jersey has some other nice aspects to it and each elements is chosen to either represent the past or the future.
As to whether the team under a new coach will fill it out properly is another matter. They've been given a good chance with a strong squad that is essentially an All Black B+ Squad (a little bit better than a B Squad). If they can gel over the next few weeks and work out their combinations in the New Zealand Barbarians game, then they have a real shot to beat Ireland and the English (who will probably front a mid-week team).
Since the great Matt TePou era (by the way, whoever has my copy of that book, I'd like it back please!), the NZ Māori have struggled through a lot. They did fairly well in the Churchill Cups (the ones they attended at least), and the 2008 Pacific Nations Cup. But recently the NZ Māori haven't even existed.
So it'd be nice to see this 100 year anniversary to really be Te Ao Hōu for Māori rugby.
Māori Centenary Series Itinerary:
- New Zealand Māori v New Zealand Barbarians at Northland Events Centre, Whangarei – 12 June
- New Zealand Māori v Ireland at Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua – 18 June
- New Zealand Māori v England at McLean Park, Napier –23 June