Melbourne Storm will wear a special jersey for the Club's one-off match next month in Napier, New Zealand, designed by Kiwi international forward Tohu Harris.
Taking the field against St. George Illawarra at McLean Park on July 25, Storm will don the specially designed jersey which draws on a number of local Maori and pacific island designs inspired by the Hawkes Bay and Hastings regions.
The jersey incorporates several new elements which highlights the different cultures making up the Melbourne Storm family, while staying true to Storm's traditional purple and navy colour base and also containing the Club's signature thunderbolts.
"The inspiration came from family in Hawkes Bay and Hastings but the jersey represents a lot more and a lot of the people from that area," Harris said.
"On the jersey there is a lot of Maori and pacific island designs. We have a strong link with that here at Melbourne Storm and we wanted to show that everyone is together and united.
"It's extremely proud for me, my wife and our families back home (to have designed the jersey).
"I'm very happy with how it's turned out and the boys are excited wear the jersey and playing in Napier in front of a full McLean Park."
The jersey also features the Ovarian Cancer Australia’s logo on the front of the jersey as it has a number of times when the team plays in New Zealand. Ovarian Cancer Australia has been a long-term charity partner of the Melbourne Storm and is the leading not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of ovarian cancer and delivering support to women and their families affected by the disease.
Storm will host the third placed St. George Illawarra at McLean Park on Saturday 25 July with the Club's trio of New Zealand internationals, Harris, Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor headlining the high profile clash against Benji Marshall's Dragons.
Tickets are selling strongly for the Round 20 showdown with all corporate tickets sold out and only 1000 reserved seats available in the grandstand. Tickets are still available in the general admission embankment at McLean Park, starting from as little as $20 for adults.
The specially designed jersey for Storm's match in Napier will be available for purchase online at http://www.melbournestormshop.com.au/ from 10am (AEST) on Friday 26 June.
Fans will also be able to get their hands on a jersey on game day at McLean Park. A 'pop up' store containing Storm merchandise including the specially designed jersey will also be located in downtown Napier in the week leading up to the game.
Background information on the design
The story behind the design for this jersey begins with the epic journey over 1000 years ago of Maori on the Takitimu canoe across the Pacific Ocean, through Samoa, Tonga, Rarotonga and other Polynesian islands, to New Zealand. The paramount chief Tamatea was captain of the canoe.
Tamatea’s son Kahungunu settled in Hawke’s Bay, the home of the Ngati Kahungunu tribe today and the front of the jersey has a stylised figure of Tamatea with the face sublimated on the back as acknowledgement of Ngati Kahungunu who are to welcome the Melbourne Storm to Hawke’s Bay in the traditional way.
On the jersey are the colours of red and black; in Maoridom red is for chieftainship; black is for all the people. These colours are a reminder to uphold mana; not only the mana of those that came before but your own as well. Mana can be described as authority, power, influence, status, spiritual power, or prestige, individually or collectively.
On the front of the jersey the striking Melbourne Storm lightning bolts express the power of Tawhirimatea, the god of the elements who was called upon to protect the Takitimu canoe from ocean storms and to provide favourable winds for the journey. The lines that thrust up from the lightning strike indicate the harnessed winds of Tawhirimatea.
Polynesian and Maori patterns are integrated into the design to acknowledge the shared history of Polynesia through the Takitimu canoe and the flax weaving design on the sides signify the various cultures woven into the Melbourne Storm family.