“Moana Pasifika stands on the shoulders of our great Pacific Island rugby playing nations. Our heritage jersey reflects the history and journey we have been on to get to this point, the legacy and pride of Manu Samoa and ‘Ikale Tahi Tonga.”
Some of the great moments of Pacific rugby history includes the 1991 Rugby World Cup when Samoa made the quarter-finals after beating Wales and Argentina in pool play and 2011 in one of the biggest shocks in the history of the Rugby World Cup tournament when Tonga beat France 19-14 in the pool match.
“We have a saying ‘tokouso’ which means brothers, mates. Moana Pasifika’s heritage jersey is our way of paying tribute to the impact of those prestigious men and women who have represented Samoa and Tonga in the past so that those who follow can reach even further.
“When Moana Pasifika takes to the field next year, we are doing so with all the dreams and hopes of those players and supporters from all our Pacific rugby playing nations,” says Sir Bryan.
Four champions of Samoan and Tongan rugby were invited to share what it meant to them to put on their nation’s colours and represent Pasifika, and is showcased in a stirring video entitled ‘Our People Our Heritage’
Cynthia Ta’ala-Timaloa who captained the Samoa women’s rugby team Manusina at the 2014 Rugby World Cup says of Pasifika: “The mantra is our people, our heritage, our aiga (family). It’s definitely special and something you can’t get across in words. It’s a deep down feeling. It’s ok to be Pasifika. If you’re Tongan, Samoan, Niuean, whatever it is, if you are Pasifika just embrace that because it’s beautiful to be Pasifika.”
Nili Latu, known for his big tackles captained the Tonga rugby team playing more than 50 tests and two Rugby World Cup tournaments, says the red jersey for him meant “faith, my family, friends, belonging and being proud of being Tongan, I wasn’t just playing for myself and my family, I knew I had to honour the jersey and also my country.”
Paul Williams who played 19 tests for Manu Samoa including all four pool matches at the 2011 World Cup says: “It’s such a special culture that we share. The bonds that we hold as a big family. To represent Samoa was a real honour for me. To see the love of the people for the Manu and for rugby was a real privilege.”
Moana Pasifika player Sione Tu’ipulotu also knows the feeling of wearing the red jersey having played four test matches this year for ‘Ikale Tahi.
“For me, it means a lot to put on the red jersey especially after the anthem and Sipi Tau. There is no better feeling.”
Moana Pasifika’s heritage jersey is on sale in stores across New Zealand and available for purchase online at https://shop.moanapasifika.co.nz/. Orders for Christmas delivery need to be made prior to Tuesday 21 December.
Memberships are also now available. Tickets are on sale in 2022.See all news