Horowhenua Maori make Lions cloak
All Blacks hooker Dane Coles has at last got to play a walk-on part in the Lions tour, presenting captain Sam Warburton with a feathered Maori cloak, made by Horowhenua Maori, ahead of their clash with the Hurricanes at Wellington Stadium.
Concussion symptoms ruled Coles out of playing against the Lions, after initially been named in the All Blacks squad for the three-test series.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said at the weekend that Coles had resumed training after being almost clear of those concussion symptoms, but would not play in the series.
While Super Rugby sides the Blues, Crusaders and Chiefs did haka ahead of their games, and the Highlanders presented a ceremonial Claymore sword, the Hurricanes opted instead for a korowai.
Made by Maori in Horowhenua on behalf of the Manawhenua and Te Atiawa iwi, the cloak was named Tuia Te Tangata, meaning The Binding of People.
Tuia Te Tangata is said to represent the weaving together of the communities, cultures and languages of the Hurricanes family with those of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
It was blessed by Wayne Tamerangi Mulligan, the chairman of Te Atiawa - Taranaki Whanui ki te upoko o te Ika – and named with the help of iwi leadership.
The iwi were honoured to have been asked to provide a taonga for the Lions and their supporters, Mulligan said.
‘‘The Korowai, its name, and the narrative provide both physi- cal and spiritual connection between the Hurricanes communities and those from the British Isles,’’ he said.
‘‘It is a koha [gift] that embraces and provides warmth to all our honoured guests as the stay in Te Whanganui a Tara - Wellington.’’
Coles it was a fitting way of marking respect for the Lions, as well as laying down a challenge.
‘‘The korowai will ensure there is a lasting reminder that binds the two teams together forever.’’
Hurricane Dane Coles and Lions skipper Sam Warburton hongi after the treasured korowai is presented at Wellington Stadium.