It's not just a game

It's not just a game

Thursday, April 05, 2012

It’s Not Just a Game: whānau, whakapapa, whutupaoro, is about mates and mana, pride and passion, fans and family. Opening on the 5th of April, this show honours the tales and taonga of tribal rugby. 

Aotea Utanganui’s Cath Sheard says this is an exciting exhibition for Patea, as so many of the trophies, and people honoured, have a local connection. Some of the Manawapou supporters from 1985 are women I went to school with and it is incredible to see that connection after all these years.

The Taranaki Māori Rugby Football Union (TMRFU) has a long and rich history in this region and we are privileged to be able to share that story with the public. The exhibition will bring back memories and inspire further korero, while others will be learning about this proud history for the first time.

Tom Katene, president and life member of the TMRFU, says the 17 taonga are the trophies, shields, cups and plates the teams battled for.

“The most important thing about the taonga is where they come from, their whakapapa, and how they were presented to the union and, as kaitiaki for these taonga, we are responsible for passing them on to our future generations.”

Those who have carried on the tribal rugby traditions are also important.

“When they put on their jersey or wash the jersey for their sons or daughters, they are the physical memory of their tupuna or those who came before them.”

When tribal rugby players take the field, a huge amount of mana is at stake. “When they played on the Saturday (for their club team) they were pretty good, but when they played on the Sunday for their tribal team they were even more fired up,” Tom says.

Presented in partnership with Taranaki Māori Rugby Foot ball Union, South Taranaki District Council, Taranaki Electricity Trust and Puke Ariki. Puke Ariki acknowledges original exhibition supporters New Plymouth District Council, TSB Community Trust, Te Puni Kōkiri, Taranaki Regional Council and the Puke Ariki Development Charitable Trust.

It’s not just a game is at Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki from April 5 – July 1.

Image: Manawapou supporters at a tribal rugby match, 19 August 1985 (Photo courtesy of Taranaki Daily News Photo Archive).