The sacred All Blacks mauri stone has been handed over to the All Blacks Experience at SkyCity in central Auckland, where it will stay whenever the All Blacks are not playing.
The All Blacks Experience team will act as kaitiaki of the precious taonga, which accompanies the All Blacks wherever they play, at home or overseas. The stone embodies the team’s mana and offers them protection in their travels and on the field.
“The addition of the mauri stone adds another dimension to the rich cultural aspects of the Experience," says All Blacks Experience general manager Phil McGowan.
"Guests to the All Blacks Experience are encouraged to touch the stone. Over time the stone collects the positive thoughts and wishes of manuhiri and in this way the mauri and support of the nation is passed on to the All Blacks.”
The stone was handed over to the All Blacks Experience at a dawn ceremony on Wednesday morning by Te R≈´nanga o NgƒÅti Waewae, one of the 18 Papatipu R≈´nanga of NgƒÅi Tahu, who are kaitiaki of pounamu. The event was attended by All Blacks head coach Ian Foster, All Blacks manager – leadership Gilbert Enoka and current and former All Blacks including Caleb Clarke, Akira Ioane, and Ian Jones.
The mauri stone is a large piece of pounamu in its raw state. It was discovered by Gaye Tauwhare of NgƒÅti Waewae, in the Arahura River near Hokitika.
NgƒÅi Tahu gifted the stone to the All Blacks in 2015 before they left to successfully defend the Rugby World Cup title in England. At the time, the stone was blessed by NgƒÅti WhƒÅtua ≈årƒÅkei kaumƒÅtua Danny Tumahai and Taiaha Hawke and representatives from NgƒÅti WhƒÅtua ≈årƒÅkei were in attendance today as mana whenua for TƒÅmaki Makaurau.
“Mauri is the life force, the essence or vitality of something," says Te R≈´nanga o NgƒÅi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai, who was in attendance for the handover.
"This beautiful taonga reflects the connection between the All Blacks and NgƒÅi Tahu and it’s special to be here today alongside mana whenua from NgƒÅti WhƒÅtua ≈årƒÅkei to celebrate these enduring relationships.”