May 7, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Tutu the Taniwha up for selection at Rugby World Cup

3 min read

One of the country’s leading Maori artists is set to make her mark on the Rugby World Cup Waatea News has reported.

Taniwha Toys n Tales is awaiting final approval from the International Rugby Board for the Robyn Kahukiwa-designed Tutu Taniwha soft toys and bi-lingual children’s books.

Co-director Andrea Kahukiwa, the artist’s daughter-in-law says, says they took their existing toy and book to world cup organisers because they felt it had broad appeal.

The toy will have a cloak withRugby World Cup imagery, while the book will include rugby themes and new characters from the latest Tutu Taniwha books.

‘Tutu Taniwha’ is the brainchild of Auckland-based businesswomen Andrea Kahukiwa and Yvonne Letton. Tutu – a Maori name that means cheeky, playful or mischievous – is a baby taniwha, a creature that exists in Maori mythology.

The iconic Kiwi toy is made from organic, sustainable materials, and comes in a limited edition with an accompanying childrens book written in English and Maori.

The creators hope Tutu Taniwha will help spark visitor interest in Maori language and culture.

“We wanted to create something for small children, a unique New Zealand toy, a baby taniwha, a sort of New Zealand version of Dora the Explorer,” Kahukiwa said.

RWC official merchandise

Taniwha Toys n Tales, the Tutu Taniwha creators, is the first New Zealand company to be approved by Rugby World Cup 2011 under a development scheme for small-to-medium-sized businesses.

Kahukiwa says Tutu was inspired by her daughter Lulu, who is “a little tutu / mischievous”.

The picture book that goes with the Rugby World Cup limited edition toy will be illustrated by well known contemporary Maori artist Robyn Kahukiwa, who is Andreas mother-in-law.

Other toys from the Taniwha range will also be available for sale with the official RWC logo, including a bat, a weta (native New Zealand insect), a snail and a kiwi. The Rugby World Cup version will sell for NZ$69.95.

Tutu Taniwha

Tutu is a bilingual baby taniwha who loves to sing and dance.

The Tutu Taniwha book is written in a simple sing-a-long style, using both M?ori and English vocabulary.

The stuffed soft toy is made from organic cotton, and designed for young children.

Creatures of myth

Taniwha are spiritual beings that appear in Maori myths and legends. They are said to prefer dark places such as deep pools in rivers, caves or under the sea.

Taniwha can be either good or bad – depending on where they appear – and male or female.
M?ori tribes each have their own unique taniwha that are considered kaitiaki / guardians of the people and able to warn them of impending danger. Early M?ori offered the first harvest of the season, such as kumara / sweet potato, as a peace-offering to their tribal taniwha.

In Maori lore, taniwha could punish those who ignored or disrepected certain tapu / taboos.

Rugby World Cup 2011
New Zealand will host the Rugby World Cup competition for only the second time in its history in 2011.

Thirteen host towns and cities throughout New Zealand will help fill the stadium of four million that New Zealand has promised for RWC 2011.

New Zealand is planning a wide range of activities – including a nationwide festival – that will make the 2011 Rugby World Cup a memorable experience for international visitors and locals. The six-week festival of rugby and regional events will showcase the best of New Zealands culture, landscape, flavours and attractions.

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