Regional | Chiefs

Chiefs wahine team takes the name Chiefs Manawa

The Chiefs Rugby Club today unveiled the new identity of its women’s team - the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa.

Coach Allan Bunting developed the new team identity with Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan, NZR Māori cultural advisor Luke Crawford, Chiefs jersey designer Dave Burke, Chiefs general manager commercial Kate Rawnsley and female players.

Bunting said it was important to know the deeper story behind the Chiefs and Chiefs mana. "We are grateful for that and very grateful for the help received in creating our name through Matua Luke Crawford and Dave Burke," Bunting said.

"It was important for our name to come from within the Chiefs story but also hold an opportunity for us to create our own identity, something to make our own and to be really special moving forward," Bunting said.  "It is a name at the moment, but how we behave on and off the field will truly make that name."

Manawa was derived from two words, Mana and Wāhine.

Chiefs mana is a central pillar of the club and wāhine is the most identifiable feature of the team being female.

Chiefly  heart

“We have come up with something really special for the team and something we can make our own," Bunting said.  "The name Manawa has a lot of meaning behind it and will be pretty sacred to the team. It translates into heart, Chiefly heart and, for us, it is important to be connected through the heart. Special things can happen if you start your foundations from there.”

The Chiefs Rugby Club has a long-standing association with Te Ao Māori and in particular the inclusion of a deeper relationship and understanding of Te Ao Māori concepts and practice.

“The club has been connected through Te Ao Māori for a while and I think it is important,” Bunting said.

"It is unique, it is a connection and holds a whole lot more meaning for the mind, body, heart and spirit. A lot can derive from this and our players will connect into that. It is accepting everyone for who they are and where they come from. It is a pretty special thing for us to be a part of and continue to create in the future."

New Zealand Rugby kaihautu Māori Luke Crawford said he was honoured to be able to assist the club in its identity process.

“It is a real privilege to have helped guide the thinking around the name Chiefs Manawa, which speaks to the Mana Wāhine and excitement the team will bring to Super Rugby Aupiki and the Chiefs whānau.”

The 2022 Chiefs Manawa jersey was also unveiled today.

Mangōpare design

At the heart of the inaugural Chiefs Manawa jersey design is the mangōpare depicting determination and tenacity. When the pattern is viewed from another angle, it depicts the manawa.

The accompanying proverb, ‘Tūngia te ururoa, kia tupu whakaritorito te tupu o te harakeke’ – ‘Burn off the overgrowth so that the flax shoots may sprout’ speaks to clearing away all impediments to ensure success.

The flax weave sits behind the flowing design of the kōwhaiwhai pattern, which represents the connecting waterways flowing in the Chiefs contributing regions.

Chiefs Rugby Club chief executive Michael Collins said this was a proud and historic moment for the club.

“I am super proud of the work that has been completed by our club and incredibly grateful for those who have guided us to help develop an inspiring identity, with special acknowledgement of Kate Rawnsley. We know the narrative will continue to grow and our Mana Wāhine will instil pride in the name and we are looking forward to seeing the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa squad connect with their new identity and bring the name to life.”

“The creation of our new team is a special event, not only in our club’s history but the history of women’s rugby in New Zealand."