In a special ceremony in Ōtautahi Christchurch’s Victoria Square on 2 March, the national team was gifted a waiata by mana whenua. The song was designed to be sung by the team on celebratory occasions and whenever it was deemed appropriate.
World Cup matches begin in Tauranga on 4 March, with Christchurch’s first happening on 24 March, leading up to a semi-final and final at Hagley Oval on 31 March and 3 April.
The waiata was written by Maaka Tau, of Ngāi Tūāhuriri, who said it represented “mareikura – the power of our women”.
“It talks to the importance of our Māori culture and our cricket culture binding together,” Tau said.
“It’s a welcoming song as well, embracing all the challenges the women might face on their journey.”
Tau said it was “an honour for Ngāi Tūāhuriri and for me to work on this and gift it to the team”, and that it could be used for a variety of occasions.
“I wrote it as a multi-purpose song, so I’m hoping they’ll use it for any celebratory occasion,” he said.
Sophie Devine, WHITE FERNS captain, said it was “very special” for the team to have their own song.
“We would like to thank the mana whenua of Christchurch for presenting the WHITE FERNS with our unique waiata,” Devine said.
“We absolutely loved receiving the song – we were singing it on the bus all the way back to the hotel!”
All competing teams, including the WHITE FERNS, were given unique pounamu gifts from mana whenua and the city of Ōtautahi Christchurch, at a ceremony on 25 February.
Te Maire Tau, Upoko, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, said it was “a pleasure to be able to host these elite sportswomen in the city”.
“Particular thanks to the many local and international organisers who have worked hard to ensure the matches can go ahead safely in this Covid environment,” he said.