Māori culture inspires custom-made helmet

By Online News - Rereātea
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The FOX racing team has joined forces with Te Puia, the New Zealand Arts and Crafts Institute, to create a custom helmet that will be up for grabs as a competition prize at Crankworx in Rotorua. 

The design was created by tohunga whakairo Clive Fugill and represents everything that is unique about the international mountain biking event.  

Te Puia general manager sales and marketing, Kiri Atkinson-Crean says Crankworx has become a popular event on New Zealand’s event calendar, attracting thousands of national and international guests annually. 

“Te Arawa people have been welcoming visitors to Rotorua since the late 1800s, and more than a century later, Māori arts, crafts and culture are incorporated in everything that we do today – it is our identity and it is what defines us.

“Applying our uniquely Māori concepts to this fresh, contemporary medium is an innovative way to profile Māori culture, values and traditions in today’s world.”

The pūhoro design represents speed and acceleration, while the kōwhaiwhai design represents the natural outdoor environment that Crankworx athletes compete in.

Mr Fugill says the design is reflective of the ripple effect produced by a river’s water current, symbolising power, strength, stamina and speed.

“Traditionally, the design was placed on the thighs of ‘Toa’ or ‘Māori warriors’ to harness the power of flowing water and to capture it within the thighs of a fighter during warfare.

The kōwhaiwhai design is a representation of the natural world. Whereas whakairo rākau (wood carving) was used to capture the tangible and what can clearly be seen (usually an ancestor), kōwhaiwhai were used to capture the intangible and the unseen.

The colours - red, white and black – are time-honoured colours used in pre-European times. Red represents papatūānuku (mother earth), white symbolises the domain of lo (the penultimate being) who resides among the heavens, while black is a reference to Te Kore (the void). 

It was within Te Kore where the seeds of creation were sown by lo and life began. From Te Kore came Te Pō, and from Te Pō came Te Ao Mārama (world of light). It was in Te Ao Mārama that life could thrive and prosper.”

FOX international marketing manager, Maria Pando says, “Only two helmets have been made; one lucky mountain biker in Rotorua will take a helmet home, while the other will remain at Te Puia | NZMACI and be displayed alongside the incredible Māori works of art their wānanga schools create.”

FOX New Zealand general manager/owner, Marcus Allen, wears the custom helmet that will be up for grabs