December 02, 2021

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa announced as new identity for women’s team

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Today we have unveiled the new identity and jersey of our women’s team named Waitomo Chiefs Manawa.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Head Coach Allan Bunting led the process of developing the new team identity alongside Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan, NZR Māori Cultural Advisor Luke Crawford, Chiefs Jersey Designer Dave Burke, Chiefs General Manager Commercial Kate Rawnsley and a number of female players.

The internal process was focused on building the team’s identity and developing a name that connected the Chiefs Rugby Club’s people, places, past and present. Waitomo Group has again shown their support to the club and women’s rugby in Chiefs Country by joining the team as their principal partner.

“We were really fortunate to catch up with Clayton because it was important for us to know the deeper story in 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.” said Bunting.

“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. 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 all female.

“We have come up with something really special for the team and something that we can make our own and be unique to the ladies we have. In the name Manawa there is a lot of meaning in 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,” said Bunting.

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. 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,” finished Bunting.

New Zealand Rugby Union Māori Cultural Advisor - Kaihautu Māori Luke Crawford said he was honoured to be able to assist the Club in their 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 Waitomo Chiefs Manawa jersey was also unveiled today. At the heart of the inaugural Waitomo Chiefs Manawa jersey design is the mangōpare (hammerhead shark) design depicting determination and tenacity. When the pattern is viewed from another angle it depicts the Manawa (beating heart) shape.

Te Raranga Harakeke – The Flax Weave, connects to the more feminine art of weaving. 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 (ururoa) to ensure success (kia tupu).

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

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO 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 install 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.”

Collins said it is very special to have Waitomo Group onboard as the principal partner again to fuel the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa this coming season.

“We are delighted to have Waitomo Group return as principal partner to support our Waitomo Chiefs Manawa team again. Their support earlier this year for the historic women’s fixture against the Blues was immense. They are committed to giving back to the community they live and work in, and we saw that first-hand this year with both of our teams. We know they are as excited as we are to see the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa represent Chiefs Country in Super Rugby Aupiki.”

Waitomo Group Managing Director Jimmy Ormsby said: “Waitomo is a value-based company - our core values are People – he tangata, Performance – he mahi, and Price – he utu hoko. Living our values is what we measure ourselves on. So far, our experience with wāhine rugby is still pretty limited – only a couple of years, but from what I have seen from the players, coaches and supporters is that there is massive alignment between our values and everyone involved in wāhine rugby. To make it this far is awesome, so full credit to all who have contributed to this success. I’ll be proud to wear the new jersey, c’mon on the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa!!”

The first Waitomo Chiefs Manawa squad has been announced ahead of the inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki competition kicking off in 2022. The draw is yet to be announced.

2022 Chiefs Memberships are currently on sale and feature a Waitomo Chiefs Manawa home match.

Sponsorship packages for the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa programme are now live. To find out more or to register your interest in supporting the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, please contact Sponsorship & Events Manager Emma Langman at [email protected].

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa announced as new identity for women’s team