Māori culture inspires custom helmet for Crankworx Rotorua

Encapsulating speed, acceleration and Rotorua’s dirt gold, FOX Racing have teamed up with Te Puia l New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) to create a custom helmet that will be up for grabs as a competition prize at Crankworx Rotorua, held March 25 – April 2.


Designed by NZMACI Tohunga Whakairo (master carver), Clive Fugill, the design represents everything that is unique and special about Crankworx Rotorua, with a design motif that is distinctly Māori and Te Arawa.


Te Puia general manager sales and marketing, Kiri Atkinson-Crean says Crankworx has quickly become one of the key highlights on Rotorua and New Zealand’s events calendar, attracting thousands of national and international guests each year.


“Te Arawa people have been welcoming visitors to Rotorua since the late 1800s, and more than a century later, Māori arts, crafts and culture are incorporated in everything that we do today – it is our identity and it is what defines us.


“Applying our uniquely Māori concepts to this fresh, contemporary medium is an innovative way to profile Māori culture, values and traditions in today’s world.”


Inspired by two concepts, the pūhoro design represents speed and acceleration, while the kōwhaiwhai design represents the natural outdoor environment that Crankworx athletes compete in.


Mr Fugill says the pūhoro design is reflective of the ripple effect produced by a river’s water current, symbolising power, strength, stamina and speed.


“Traditionally, the design was placed on the thighs of ‘Toa’ or ‘Māori warriors’ to harness the power of flowing water and to capture it within the thighs of a fighter during warfare.


“The kōwhaiwhai design is a representation of the natural world. Whereas whakairo rākau (wood carving) was used to capture the tangible and what can clearly be seen (usually an ancestor), kōwhaiwhai were used to capture the intangible and the unseen.


“The colours – red, white and black – are time-honoured colours used in pre-European times. Red represents papatūānuku (mother earth), white symbolises the domain of lo (the penultimate being) who resides among the heavens, while black is a reference to Te Kore (the void). 


“It was within Te Kore where the seeds of creation were sown by lo and life began. From Te Kore came Te Pō, and from Te Pō came Te Ao Mārama (world of light). It was in Te Ao Mārama that life could thrive and prosper.”


FOX international marketing manager, Maria Pando says FOX Racing have worked closely with Te Puia l NZMACI to create a Māori motif that is a true representation of Rotorua, New Zealand, their people and their culture.


“For this custom painted Proframe helmet giveaway, we wanted to make sure we were capturing the culture and heritage this amazing region has to offer, so it made sense to work with Te Puia | NZMACI to collaborate on this project and make it as authentic as possible, and the outcome is truly amazing.


“This custom painted helmet will be one of the main attractions at our FOX booth at Crankworx and is the first in a series of custom painted Proframes we will be giving away throughout the Crankworx World Tour; anyone who tests out our brand new Proframe helmet is eligible for a chance to win.


“Only two helmets have been made; one lucky mountain biker in Rotorua will take a helmet home, while the other will remain at Te Puia | NZMACI and be displayed alongside the incredible Māori works of art their wānanga schools create.”