A special trophy for this year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa winners has been unveiled this morning, with Māori symbolism used throughout to acknowledge the unique circumstances of the competition.
Tū Kōtahi Aotearoa, which translates to Stand As One New Zealand, was created by Otaki carver Bill Doyle and represents the coming together of the five Kiwi Super Rugby franchises during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Doyle said the trophy’s base is made of totara and represents an upturned waka to show the chaotic state caused by the coronavirus.
Standing atop it, though, is a pounamu mere, which signifies the strength and unity that has been seen by the return of rugby from both players and the large crowds that have attended matches this season.
The trophy will be on display in Christchurch this weekend when the Crusaders host the Hurricanes at Orangetheory Stadium on Saturday night.
The trophy will also be present at Sunday’s game between the Blues and Chiefs at Eden Park.
The Crusaders are frontrunners to win the trophy, with the undefeated Canterbury franchise five points clear of the second-placed Blues in the standings.