Taiaha Hā! Taiaha Hā! Ngāti Rēhia Iwi present taiaha to All Blacks captain

By Tamati Tiananga

In a special pōhiri in Kerikeri, the Ngāti Rēhia iwi gave All Blacks captain Sam Cane a special taiaha ahead of the Ireland test next month.

"It’s hard to put into words how I feel, I've never experienced anything like that,” Cane said.

“It's hugely humbling to be able to accept it on behalf of the team and the meaning behind it is hugely powerful. For us to have a welcome like this and receive a beautiful taonga like this leading into the Irish series is awesome for us."

Te Pou Manako is the name bestowed on this taiaha. Ngāti Rēhia spokesman, Kipa Munro says, “If I were to explain the meaning of the name. I would say it represents dreams and aspirations to set one's heart on. We want the team to do well on the international stage. For us we want this [taiaha] to guide them and to be seen as a source of strength to help the side become victorious.”  

All Blacks' haerenga to Waitangi

All Blacks captain Sam Cane receives a special taiaha from Ngāti Rēhia.

The All Blacks are en route to Waitangi as part of plans to train using team bonding activities. Cane says, “To come up here and mix and mingle in such a cool community and one that's passionate about rugby and get to visit the Waitangi grounds and maybe get out to fish and just mix with the local community will be awesome to bring us together.”

Munro says, “It was an honour for Ngāti Rēhia iwi to officially welcome New Zealand's national side to Kerikeri. The welcoming was conducted on behalf of Northland and Ngāpuhi. But I also said the honour is also there  to have met us, the people of Ngāti Rēhia.”

All Blacks mix with Tai Tokerau fans  

This is a good lead into the Irish series next month while mixing among small communities to inspire future All Blacks. Cane says going into small rural communities has become a tradition. “We went to Whakatāne a couple of years ago, South Auckland last year, and now we’re up here, the naughty north, and just find it's great to bring the five teams together in a more relaxing environment.”

Munro says, “If this is their wish to become an All Black, this is just the beginning. Seeing and meeting the All Blacks in the flesh for the first time is the kickstart to the journey and we have accomplished something at today's event.”    

According to Ngāti Rēhia history, their ancestor Tārena was a man of peace. Kipa says he hopes the All Blacks also travel in peace and prosperity.