We’ll be totally honest – the first time that we saw this new Chiefs shirt upon its reveal, our first reaction was very much from the ‘WTF’ school of grown up responses. Possibly followed by an ‘Eurggh’. If that was your reaction too, hang on a minute. Just… relax… pause for a second, go and get a cup of coffee or something and come back. It’s fine, we can wait…

Right. Now look at it again. Huh? Nicer now isn’t it? You’re starting to appreciate it for its unabashed craziness aren’t you? Exactly the same thing happened with us. The longer we look at it, the more it seems to draw us in. Maybe it’s something to do with that scary-looking chap on the front…

The Chiefs colour scheme is such a winner – black, yellow and red just look great together, and we heartily approve of the red and yellow really coming to the fore on the front of the new shirt.

We’ve been a little critical of tribal patterns on shirts in the past, but we’ve got nothing against the patterns themselves. It irks us when teams that have no connection or justification for using them, making them the shirt equivalent of a tribal tattoo on the bicep of a juiced up Valley commando – rather tacky.


This, however, is not one of those instances. The Cheifs hail from the heart of Māori-dom, so if anyone can appropriately use traditional Māori tribal designs, it’s them, and they’ve done it in a bold, memorable and deeply meaningful way.

In fact, the three designers of the shirt, Dave Burke, Luke Crawford, and Wally Rifle, worked closely with a team of Māori advisers to ensure the designs on the shirt were both appropriate and significant both to the Māori people and the Chiefs themselves. The Chiefs have an in-depth explanation of the cultural significance of each element of the new shirt’s design on their website – they explain it far better than we ever could, and we’d heartily recommend you check it out.


If anything we like the away kit even more than the home – its a simpler, less busy design, and it’s even better for it. Plus white with yellow and black is an under-used but really effective colour palette, too.


All in all, these shirts might be the ultimate growers – they might seem a bit too loud at first, but there’s something about a design this bold, this individual, with such an interesting backstory behind it, that really gets under your skin. Proof positive that non-classic shirts can work, when they’re done right.




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