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Mako jersey blessed for season ahead

Te Tau Ihu kaumatua Waihaere Mason addresses Tasman Mako staff and players at Wednesday's jersey blessing.
TIM O'CONNELL/STUFF
Te Tau Ihu kaumatua Waihaere Mason addresses Tasman Mako staff and players at Wednesday's jersey blessing.

After missing out on premiership glory three times in the last four years, Tasman Mako rugby fans could be forgiven for thinking outside forces were conspiring against them. 

Fortunately, Tasman Rugby Union are doing what they can to eliminate any hoodoo, while also acknowledging the province's indigenous influence.

Ahead of the team's first Mitre 10 Cup match against Canterbury, the 2018 Mako jersey was given an official blessing in the presence of Mako staff and players and representatives from all eight iwi from the top of the south.

Tasman Rugby Union chief executive Tony Lewis said the union had initially commissioned a design for the Tasman Māori team jumper.

However, following last year's decision to drop the 'S' from the team name, a further decision was made to put the design on the first team's jerseys.

Lewis said it was important that the appropriate protocol was followed, in terms of respecting Māori culture and, in a wider sense, to increase the team's chances of success.  

"When we started talking about it, one of the things I read was the jersey had to be blessed because if it wasn't done so in the appropriate manner it could be cursed and so hence what we're doing today."

Te Tau Ihu kaumatua Waihaere Mason said it was good to see a larger influence by top of the south iwi in the local rugby landscape.

"[The jersey design] is pretty special - a taonga - and that's how we view it,  therefore you wear it with pride and that instills that whole mana within the team."  

Eight players will wear a Mako shirt for the first time at Lansdowne Park this Friday, as Tasman looked to reverse last year's 39-0 round robin loss to the defending Mitre 10 Cup champions.

AT A GLANCE:

The Tasman Mako team to play Canterbury at Lansdowne Park, Blenheim on Friday August 17 is; David Havili (captain), Wyatt Crockett, Andrew Makalio, Tyrel Lomax, Quentin Strange, Pari Pari Parkinson, Ethan Blackadder, Jed Brown, Vernon Fredericks, Jack Grooby, Mitch Hunt, Solomon Alaimalo, Levi Aumua, Jamie Spowart, Will Jordan. Reserves: Ray Niuia, Ryan Coxon, Blair Prinsep, Michael Curry, Sione Havili, Ben Finau, Tim O'Malley, Alex Nankivell.

The game kicks off at 7:35pm.