Worn Stories

I recently read an interesting book called Worn Stories by Emily Spivack. The idea of the book is that most of us own at least one piece of clothing that has an interesting story connected to it. That got me thinking about the stories/symbolism that are told in the design of many of today’s sporting uniforms … such as the All Blacks’ 2015 jersey.


The patterned design across the shoulders and chest of the new jersey was inspired by the jersey worn by first All Black team – the 1905 Originals who toured the United Kingdom, France and the USA. I think it’s awesome the All Blacks pay respect to the very first All Blacks team.


One of the most fascinating story telling jerseys I’ve seen is the 2010 Maori Rugby team jersey.The jersey design is based around the team haka “Tīmitanga,” aspects of Maori culture like the Korowai (cloak) and the Wharenui (meeting house), and the history of Maori rugby.


And then there’s “Te Maumaharatanga,” the specially-designed jersey the Vodafone Warriors wore to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli.


The four people represent the four parts of New Zealand’s military service.The symbol of the mangopare (hammerhead shark) on the monument represents courage, tenacity and determination and pays respect to the Māori Battalion. The kiwi and kangaroo represent the brotherhood and spirit of the Anzac. Fields of poppies represent the soldiers who have died. In the background is New Zealand’s mountains and whenua, symbolising what they fought for. Below the four figures is a rocky outcrop representing Gallipoli peninsula with crosses placed amongst the rocks to acknowledge the soldiers who died there.

I think this would be a good topic for students to study in English, a rich exploration of visual language in way that would catch their interest.

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