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North v South teams to contest two trophies

Te Matau a Māui – The Fishhook of Māui (left) and the Loving Cup (right)

    • New North v South trophy named Te Matau a Māui – The Fishhook of Māui
    • The Loving Cup to be contested for the first time since 1932

Two trophies of different eras and origins will be up for grabs during the Steinlager North v South match with the stunning Te Matau a Māui – The Fishhook of Maui – unveiled in Wellington today.

Te Matau a Māui, a carved rimu fish hook on a kauri base, will be presented to the winning team at Sky Stadium on Saturday night alongside the recently discovered Loving Cup, a trophy first presented to the 1924 All Blacks nearly a century ago.

Designed and carved by Ngāi Tahu father and son, John and Dave Burke, Te Matau a Māui celebrates the Māori creation story of New Zealand’s two main islands, the North Island – Te Ika a Māui – and the South Island – Te Waka a Māui.

The Burkes, originally from Otepoti in Dunedin and now resident in Tauranga, were invited to create a new trophy after a New Zealand Rugby (NZR) search for the Loving Cup initially failed to find a piece of silverware first contested during the North v South match in 1932.

New Zealand Rugby Māori Cultural Advisor Luke Crawford said it was serendipitous that as the carver was finishing Te Matau a Māui for a new generation of players, the Loving Cup was suddenly rediscovered in the bowels of Eden Park after being lost for 88 years.

“The Steinlager North v South Match has a long and rich tradition and both trophies pay homage to what the rivalry is all about, albeit representative of different eras. It’s fitting that they will be side-by-side as this traditional contest is revived in 2020.”

In Māori mythology the demi-god Māui-tikitiki-a-Tāranga fished up Te Ika a Māui (the great fish of Māui) from his canoe Te Waka a Māui (the canoe of Māui) so was ideally fitted for a contest between Aotearoa’s two main islands, Crawford said.

“The story of Māui recounts the battle between a fish and a fisherman where the strategies and tactics employed by both sides eventually led to the formation of Aotearoa, so similar to the sort of contest we will see at Sky Stadium on Saturday.

“When thinking about what connects a fish to the fisherman, the obvious answer was the hook and line and thus Te Matau a Māui took shape.”

Te Matau a Māui also features three pieces of pounamu depicting the North Island, South Island and Stewart Island, which is seen as the anchor of Māui’s canoe.

A graphic design includes the historical black and white colours of the North and South teams, while a taura (rope) features a rugby ball shaped toggle with the date 1897, the year the North v South match was first played.

The 60-centimetre tall sterling silver Loving Cup was discovered in August this year after historian Ian St George went public with his search for the old cup while working on a book about a Kiwi silent film star living in London. If the 2020 Steinlager North v South Match is drawn, as has been the case on three previous occasions, both trophies will be shared by the two teams.

The North team

Forwards: 1. Karl Tu’inukuafe 2. Asafo Aumua, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 5. Tupou Vaa’i, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Ardie Savea, 8.  Hoskins Sotutu.
Backs: 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Caleb Clarke, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Sevu Reece, 15. Damian McKenzie.
Replacements: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Ayden Johnstone, 18. Angus Ta’avao, 19. Scott Scrafton, 20.  Dalton Papalii, 21. Aaron Smith, 22. Peter Umaga-Jensen,  23. Mitchell Hunt.

The South team

Forwards: 1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Samuel Whitelock (captain), 5. Mitchell Dunshea, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Tom Christie, 8. Tom Sanders.
Backs: 9. Brad Weber, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. George Bridge, 12. Jack Goodhue, 13. Brayden Ennor, 14.  Will Jordan, 15. Jordie Barrett
Replacements: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. George Bower, 18. Tyrel Lomax, 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20. Dillon Hunt, 21. Finlay Christie, 22. Josh Ioane, 23. Leicester Faingaanuku.

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