Sonic trophy for Rugby World Cup Player of the Match marries Māori design references
Creative agency Octagon calls on Māori designer Nichola Te Kiri to create the trophy, which takes inspiration from the role of the kaikaranga, or ceremonial caller.
- Liz Gorny
- 9 November 2022
The Mastercard Player of the Match trophy, appearing in the 2021 Rugby World Cup, is the world’s first sonic trophy, designed to spotlight and “celebrate the female voice”, an Octagon press release explains. Through its swooping form, it also mirrors how a whatu kākahu – a traditional Māori cloak – hangs “from the shoulders of a woman in her role as kaikaranga”. A kaikaranga has the role of making a ceremonial call to visitors at the start of a pōwhirim, a Māori welcoming ceremony. The trophy is designed by Nichola Te Kiri and Octagon is the creative agency on the project.
Made from ceramic, the trophy intertwines numerous references. A tāniko design, featured around the top of the trophy, represents the 12 competing teams, with niho taniwha (the triangular shapes) and kaokao (chevron) patterns – located in the centre cluster – focusing on each element of the side. Meanwhile, the tāniko at the base of the trophy “speaks to the surrounding whenua (land) and maunga (mountains) of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and Whangarei where the tournament is being played”, Octagon explains. Between these patterns, audiences will find a panel that references the underlying structure of the cloak, while the weave pattern nods to whatu – a single-pair twining technique used to make traditional Māori cloaks.
Reflecting on the design, Nichola Te Kiri shares: “Our culture is so rich and so beautiful, and we have so many awesome things about us that I really wanted to share. The influence was the kaikaranga, or the ceremonial caller, and more specifically the kākahu or traditional cloak that we wear. We’ve not only got elements on the outside of the trophy, but it’s the korero or the sound coming out from it.”
While this year’s trophy places emphasis on traditional design, it marries this with sound innovation. The base of the trophy hides a powerful speaker that will amplify highlights of the game played by the Player of the Match – 80 seconds to reflect 80 minutes of play – mixed in real time.
“The trophy will be given to a single player after every match of the World Cup in Aotearoa / New Zealand”, the release concludes, with the final match on 12 November 2022 “expected to deliver record breaking attendance for women’s rugby”. Richard Hollingum at Made By Doing worked on trophy production, Piri Hetet as cultural advisor, Bigfish on film and Si Moore at Bayly&Moore on photography for the project.
GalleryNichola Te Kiri: Rugby World Cup 2021 Mastercard Player of the Match Trophy. Creative by Octagon. Photography by Si Moore at Bayly&Moore (Copyright © Si Moore, Octagon, Mastercard, 2022)
Nichola Te Kiri: Rugby World Cup 2021 Mastercard Player of the Match Trophy. Creative by Octagon. Photography by Si Moore at Bayly&Moore (Copyright © Si Moore, Octagon, Mastercard, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.