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UC has the backs of the new South Island Women’s rugby team

12 October 2021

Women’s rugby in New Zealand will take another leap forward in 2022, when Super Rugby Aupiki takes place over four weekends in March. The University of Canterbury is proud to support the combined South Island team, which will represent the whole of Te Waka o Aoraki, specifically the Crusaders and Highlanders regions.


UC student and Matatū player Grace Brooker (left) with UC Kaihautū Taunaki Tangata Director – Equity and Business Management, Rīpeka Tamanui-Hurunui.

Matatū, a name gifted by Ngāi Tūāhuriri, will be proudly carried forward by the team, when they compete in the inaugural competition next season. The University of Canterbury (UC) will be a brand partner of the team in 2022 and will have their logo on the playing jersey next season.   

University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey says: “The University of Canterbury is committed to gender equity and social inclusion, and we are proud to support South Island wāhine competing under the Super Rugby banner. It is pleasing to see nearly a quarter of Matatū contracted so far are UC-educated wāhine, paving the way for future generations.”

UC student Grace Brooker is in her third year of studying towards a Bachelor of Sport Coaching Degree and is one of the first contracted players in the team.

Matatū is an instructive command to remain steadfast with head held high, alert, and ready to take on any and every challenge head on. The term Matatū has, in recent years, become synonymous with Aoraki, the highest peak in the South Island. It speaks to the mana he holds as the enduring watchful guardian of all those who reside in Te Waka o Aoraki (South Island.)

The name, colours and Tohu (logo) design were created by local artist and designer Morgan Mathews-Hale, and the work was completed in partnership with Te Whaka Ako Limited.

UC Kaihautū Taunaki Tangata Director – Equity and Business Management, Rīpeka Tamanui-Hurunui says: “At UC, we value whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and tiakitanga, which are about valuing, empowering and caring for people and nurturing our resources. The principles of ‘Kia tika, kia pono, kia aroha - doing what is right with integrity and empathy’ underpin our values. Given what we stand for, supporting Matatū is something we are proud to do, and is a positive step on the journey of building a more equitable Ōtautahi, and wider Aotearoa.”

The four values identified that will form the foundation of Matatū are; tūmanawa (determination); tūaho (legacy); tūtira (unity) and tūhono (connections) and alongside these values is a guiding principle that this team will inspire all young females to be the very best they can be.

Read more about Matatū.

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