The Māori All Blacks might be in effect New Zealand’s development team, but we all know that there’s a lot more to it than the Māori than that, and from our point of view, the most notable aspect of the unique place that they hold in the rugby world is their jersey.
Over the last few years, Adidas has really gone all out when it comes to the Māori All Blacks jerseys – in the same way that the German brand has made the Chiefs jerseys of recent seasons intricate celebrations of native culture, so it has been with the Māori.
This year’s shirt is no different, and once again the front of the shirt’s design features a striking and unique and detailed piece of Māori art, which in typical Adidas style tells its own story.
This jersey’s name is ‘Orokohanga’, which means ‘origins’, and the design on the front of the jersey tells the story of humankind’s journey from their celestial beginnings to our current existence on earth.
The graphics themselves are a visual representation of what is normally expressed orally in the Māori world as pepehā (tribal axiom). Pepehā is how individuals connect to whēnua (land) whānau (family) and wairua (spirtually) and is an important and integral part of the Māori world.
Away from the intricate design on the front of the jersey, another striking and unique feature of the shirt is the red accents on the sleeve cuffs. In addition to setting the shirt apart from the other All Blacks teams, it’s also a nod to the jersey worn by the 1910 team, which was the first official New Zealand Māori team.
Like the new All Blacks 7s jersey that we looked at yesterday, the shirt also uses dark grey stripes over the shoulders, but it’s interesting to note that the template used here isn’t Adidas’s latest, but the same one used for the last two years.
We can’t say we mind, however, when the shirt is as cool and distinctive as this – it’ll look great on the Māori’s tour to the USA, Chile and Brazil at the end of the year.