The New Zealand Herald
New home for mauri stone
A sacred stone that was gifted to the All Blacks has been handed over to the All Blacks Experience at SkyCity in central Auckland, a temporary home for the taonga while the All Blacks are not playing.
The mauri stone was gifted in 2015 by Nga¯i Tahu iwi when the All Blacks left to successfully defend the Rugby World Cup in England. The taonga has since accompanied the team wherever they play.
Now The All Blacks Experience team will act as kaitiaki (guardians) for the mauri stone until the All Blacks are ready for their next game.
The stone embodies the team’s mana and offers them protection in their travels and on the field.
All Blacks Experience general manager Phil McGowan said guests are encouraged to touch the stone, as it collects positive thoughts and wishes which can enhance how the team co-operate on the field. “In this way the mauri and support of the nation is passed on to the All Blacks.”
The stone was handed over to the All Blacks Experience at a dawn ceremony yesterday by Te Ru¯nanga o Nga¯ti Waewae, one of the 18 iwi of Nga¯i Tahu, and the kaitiaki of the pounamu.
The event was attended by All Blacks head coach Ian Foster, All Blacks manager Gilbert Enoka and current and former All Blacks including Caleb Clarke, Akira Ioane and Ian Jones. Also in attendance were representatives of Nga¯ti Wha¯tua ra¯kei, who helped bless the stone when it was gifted to the team.
Te Ru¯nanga o Nga¯i Tahi chair Lisa Tumahai said: “Mauri is the life force, the essence or vitality of something. This beautiful taonga reflects the connection between the All Blacks and Nga¯i Tahu. It’s special to be here alongside mana whenua from Nga¯ti Wha¯tua ra¯kei.”
The mauri stone is a large piece of pounamu in its raw state and was discovered by Gaye Tauwhare of Nga¯ti Waewae, in the Arahura River near Hokitika. Pounamu is only found in Te Waipounamu (the South Island), mainly in Te Tai Poutini (the West Coast) and it has great significance for Nga¯i Tahu.
The kowhaiwhai patterning on the plinth that holds the mauri stone has been designed by Nga¯i Tahu artist Fayne Robinson. The kowhaiwhai tells the story¯OofPoutini, the taniwha who swims in rough seas off Te Tai o Poutini protecting both the people and the mauri of pounamu.