A big congratulations to the All Blacks for bringing home the Rugby World Cup. It was an amazing event that for us resulted in a lack of sleep for six weeks, and a mix of stress and excitement. But there was never a doubt that our guys wouldn’t deliver the goods and bring home the cup again.

Waewae Pounamu was pleased to be commissioned by the All Blacks to carve pounamu pendants for the 2015 All Black World Cup squad, their management and support crew.

As requested by the All Black management, the presentation of the taonga was a low-key affair in September, but now that the Rugby World Cup tournament has finished Waewae Pounamu is able to tell you all our news.

On 7 September, the Tumahai whānau accompanied by Julian Wilcox and Phil Tumataroa (Ngāi Tahu Communications kaimahi) travelled to Auckland to present the 2015 All Black team with their taonga. Ngāti Waewae Chair, Francois Tumahai also invited manawhenua from Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei (Auckland) to ensure appropriate tikanga was followed. Taiaha Hawke (cultural advisor) and kaumātua Danny Tumahai (both of Ngāti Whātua descent) opened the evening with a karakia and mihi, followed by an opening speech from Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tuarua, Lisa Tumahai.

Lisa spoke about Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison of Ōtākou, who was captain of New Zealand’s first official rugby team when it toured Australia in 1893. In 1902, he published, The Art of Rugby Football, one of the game’s first coaching manuals. And of course it was he who proposed that the New Zealand team wear the black jersey with the silver fern.

She also mentioned that Ngāi Tahu has had many All Black representatives and it was our cousin Piri Weepu, who led the haka at the final of the World Cup 2011 in Auckland.

We now also celebrate Joe Moody, (Ngāi Tūāhuriri) joining the team and playing in the 2015 World Cup final.

Francois then gave a kōrero about Ngāti Waewae, Arahura, and where their taonga are from and who carved them. These All Black taonga are unique, there will be no replica.

Also provided was a kōhatu pounamu from the Arahura Awa received by Keven Mealamu. This kōhatu travelled with the team to all of their World Cup matches and sat in their dressing room – a special mauri and taonga to energise, invigorate, protect and help ground them as they took on the rest of the world.

It was an amazing experience and while it was a private affair where we had to keep numbers attending to a minimum (and we had to keep it quiet for three months), we were excited to have our rangatahi share this special experience.

We left the team with the following whakataukī: Kia hora te marino, kia tere te kārohirohi, kia whakapapa pounamu te haere. May your journey be calm, may the light of summer dance across your pathway, and may your voyage glisten like the greenstone as you go forth to the Rugby World Cup.

Waewae Pounamu would like to thank Julian Wilcox for his support and All Black Manager, Darren Shands for helping to make this happen. We also thank Ngāti Whātua for officiating the evening.

Tumahai whānau, Ngāti Whātua representatives, the All Black squad and their team entourage at the ceremony.

Tumahai whānau, Ngāti Whātua representatives, the All Black squad and their team entourage at the ceremony.