Warrior over the Waves: A letter from the Pasifika playing group

To our Brumbies Family,

We as a playing group wanted to pass on some more information around the story behind our Pasifika Jersey in 2021 and why it’s so important to us as the Pasifika members of the 2021 playing group, on behalf of team and the organisation.

This year’s jersey is designed to share parts of our common Pasifika ancestry and journey as ‘Warrior over the Waves’, to help explain what’s important to us as individuals, as representatives of our people, and as members of the Brumbies family.

The central image of the jersey is a warrior of Pacific, setting out on a waka (boat) to navigate the Pacific Ocean in search of kai moana (seafood), new lands, and freedom; to support, sustain, and protect their families.

The warrior harnesses the power of the waves, the strength of the wind, and currents of the ocean, driving them towards their goals.  The warrior knows they will face extremely tough challenges at times but will face them fearlessly because they are prepared, confident, and supported by their fellow warriors that stand beside them and by their ancestors that have gone before them and who watch over them.

The warrior is armed with the Maori taiaha (spear) representing the many weapons used by warriors to defend, protect, and conquer their enemies.

Mastering these weapons requires patience, practice, and fearless courage, traits that inspire us as players on the rugby field.

The people of the pacific weave flax and other fibres together to make mats, ropes, baskets, nets, sails, and other items that sustain and support daily life.  When single strands are woven and bound together, they become powerful.  The underlying woven pattern of the jersey represents the strength that comes, when like warriors, teammates stand together to face their opposition.

The Warrior carries with them the memory, spirit, and pride of their ancestors portrayed in the tataus (tattoos) carved into their body.

The ink is etched deep into their skin using sharpened bone chisels and hammers, with the healed wounds blackened using the black, blue, and green soot of trees.

To be tattooed this way takes extreme courage, and one has to endure extreme pain, characteristics needed to become a Warrior. The Warrior earns the right to wear these markings through valorous deeds, by obtaining a level of cultural understanding, or through royal or chiefly heritage.

The design of the Warrior’s tattoos is personal, telling of their deeds or depicting symbols and stories of their lands and oceans; or the journeys, sojourns, and conquests of their ancestors. Our Warrior bares the Maori ta moko on their chin; with the Tongan tatau on their left forearm; the Fijian samuqawe on their right shoulder; the Samoan soga'imiti on their waist and legs; and the Niuean tatau etched into their calf and lower leg.

Some symbols are unique like the fern prong of Aotearoa while others are common across nations, including the waves, sharks’ teeth, and the spearhead. Each symbol shown in the arm bands and tattoos of the jersey portrays an important aspect of Pasifika heritage and culture. Symbols of courage, fearlessness, endurance, power, leadership and protection. Characteristics necessary in a rugby team to successfully conquer all challenges that come before it, like a ‘Warrior over the Waves’.

The back of the jersey lists the surnames of the 2021 Pasifika players, followed by the home villages of their parents; for players of Maori heritage, their iwi (tribe). They are listed here to recognise, honour and pay respect to the Pasifika players ancestors. To thank them for the things they have taught them and for the sacrifices they have made that allow them to be part of the Brumbies family.

We would like to thank the Brumbies organisation for supporting us as a playing group and recognising the Pasifika contribution to the club.

We would also like to thank you, our Brumbies Family for embracing us as a team and we look forward to seeing you all for what will be a very special occasion at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.

The 2021 Brumbies Pasifika Playing Group

 

The 2021 Plus500 Brumbies squad includes players from the nations Aotearoa (New Zealand, Maori), Samoa, Tonga, Niue, and Fiji.

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