Maori artwork launched for official Rugby World Cup 2011 merchandise

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Representing the power and whakapapa of the haka was the goal of Piri-Hira Tukapua when developing her design which will feature on Rugby World Cup merchandise next year.

Piri-Hira, 30, is a direct descendent of Te Rauparaha, the composer of Ka Mate, Piri-Hira said she wanted to capture the history and power of the haka through words and imagery (Dominion Post)

A collection of 11 designs created by six young Maori artists, five of which are from Nga Aho Inc, the collective of Maori professional designers were chosen. The remaining designs are based on key values. The values of aroha (love), toa (strength), wairua (the spirit of life), ihi wehi and wana (the raw and powerful energy of mankind).

Around 90 people, including the artists and representatives from Rugby World Cup Limited, Nga Aho Inc and Te Runanga o Ngati Toa Rangatira, attended the launch of the Rugby World Cup Maori Art Programme at Takapuwahia Marae, Porirua.

The Rugby World Cup is not just about the rugby, says Maori Affairs Minister, Dr Sharples. Its also about the economic and commercial benefits to our country and our people, and thats the kaupapa of todays celebrations.

The artwork came about through a set of relationships between Te Puni Kokiri, Rugby World Cup Limited, Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira and Nga Aho Incorporated.

Key to this project is that it shows that indigenous people and commercial entities can work together to produce authentic and exclusive indigenous product.

Maori development is about improving economic conditions for Maori, says Dr Sharples. From this project there will be financial benefits to descendents of Ngati Toa Rangatira, benefits to young Maori designers and also to Maori rugby.

And for the average rugby punter who comes to our shores next year, they will be able to walk away with a piece of clothing, or maybe a rugby ball, knowing that they have purchased an authentic, indigenous piece of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr Sharples acknowledged Ngati Toa Rangatira and the haka, Ka Mate. He thanked the iwi for their gift to the nation, and to the world.

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