Regional | Karanga

Kaikaranga inspiration for 'sonic' player of the match RWC trophy

A special 'sonic' Kaikaranga-inspired Player of the Match trophy has been created for each of the 26 matches in the Women's Rugby World Cup which kicks off in Tāmaki Makaurau on Saturday.

Cultural advisor Piri Rongo Hetet-Wairau and contemporary Māori fashion designer Nichola Te Kiri (Tūhoe) were among local experts that worked with Mastercard - a founding partner of Women in Rugby - to create the trophy.

The trophy is unique because it "captures live-action audio from each game, live match commentary and fan reactions," Mastercard said when unveiling the trophy on Friday.

"Inspired by the Kaikaranga, a powerful, graceful, and courageous leader and female voice of the indigenous Māori people, this one-of-a-kind trophy will be received by the select few who demonstrate these same qualities on the pitch at Rugby World Cup 2021."

Te Kiri says she feels privileged to have been able to pay homage to the strength and talent of wāhine.

“Māori narratives highlight strength and leadership abilities of women, and I’m honoured to work with Mastercard to bring that symbolism to the trophy design for these incredibly talented athletes.

“The trophy’s cloak-like shape, colour and patterns represent a woman's responsibility/role as a leader and her connection to her landscape. With the sonic element providing a commemoration of each match, I am truly privileged to pay homage to these outstanding athletes and their individual and unique narratives.”

Black Fern and Mastercard global ambassador, Portia Woodman, said the trophy would be a prized possession for recipients.

"Many matches feel unforgettable, but this personalised prize capturing audio highlights lets players relive some of the most incredible moments of their career. That is unbelievably special."