Gold Medal Winning Crews to Receive a Maori Treasure
Every member of each gold medal winning crew at the 2010 World Rowing Championships will receive a unique Maori greenstone taonga (treasure) at the official medal ceremony.
The specially carved greenstone pounamu, commissioned by local iwi Ngati Koroki Kahukura, were designed and carved by renowned Maori artists Lewis Gardiner and Thomas Ratima. See the pounamu and the carving process on YouTube here.
It is believed that this is the first time pounamu have been awarded in this way at a major international sporting event in New Zealand.
The pounamu, carved into the shape of a Maori waka (canoe) paddle, will be awarded to the 2010 world champions at the same time as they receive their FISA gold medal.
“When the athletes are gifted these taonga, I hope they take away a big part of New Zealand Maori culture,” says Gardiner.
The intricate binding at the top of each pounamu represents the hard work, strength and dedication of the athlete. A total of 90 pounamu will be presented to the champions in the 27 different boat classes at the World Championships.