The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua have released a special jersey to mark Culture Round of the 2023 Shop N Save Super Pacific season.
The jersey incorporates a series of specially designed Fijian masi motifs created by renowned local artist Anare Somumu. The team will run out in the Cultural Round jersey is Round 10 against the Blues in Lautoka on Saturday, April 29.
Head of Athletic Performance and Drua cultural lead, Nacanieli Cawanibuka explained the significance of this culture jersey:
“We wanted specially created motifs which speak of the values of the Fijian Drua; relentlessness (tabu soro), integrity (dina) and discipline (bula vakaivakarau/talairawarawa/kaukauwa). The designs needed to represent the way everyone in our Club aspires to be both on and off the field. We worked with Mr Somumu to finalise the designs over a number of weeks”.
Artist Anare Somumu said he was honoured to be part of the design process for the cultural jersey:
“In my discussions with Master Nacanieli (Cawanibuka), he outlined the values that the Drua stand for, which needed to be incorporated in the masi designs. My art has always revolved around these things, so it came easily to me. These designs have come from my heart and soul because these are the values I already stand for.”
Somumu created individual masi motifs and assigned meanings to each. The feature part of the masi designs revolve around the traditional Fijian sail (laca) around a guiding star, symbolising the journey of the Fijian Drua as a Club.
Cawanibuka elaborated: “The guiding star represents our faith in God, our source of strength and peace (Psalm 121:1). Our forefathers sailed the oceans using the stars to direct their journey. Under each sail motif are three different coloured cowry shells (sau) to represent the three confederacies which make up Fiji – Kubuna, Burebasaga and Tovata, collectively representing our families and people of the “vanua”, and our rich multi-ethnic and cross-cultural groups (people of Fiji) and all who call Fiji home. The shells are joined by magimagi (coconut sinnet) which is a call for unity and solidarity to be successful on this journey.”
“The masi design also features an oar-shaped war club (kinikini), which is similar to the i-voce, the traditional paddle carried out by Fijian Drua captains as they lead our team out on to the field. The kinikini doubles up in its functions as an oar and a war club – resonating with our rugby terminology of double jobs, working hard relentlessly and making repeated efforts. In rugby terms, we emphasise working hard on and off the ball. In a lifestyle sense, it is teaching our players to be honest, disciplined and relentless even when they are away from our team environment.”
Other motifs in the design include the Ua, which are waves representing the collective wishes of the people of Fiji (the “vanua”) for the Drua to sail on relentlessly amidst all the challenges and struggles along the way, as well as a rugby ball to portray the Drua’s unique brand of Fijian running rugby. All designs are encased within a fence symbol – the bai –in the shape of shark teeth facing inward. This serves as a reminder of the importance of guarding (tou viria na bai) the team’s core values, to be strong from within.
The culture jerseys are now available for sale from Jack’s of Fiji and other leading retailers, as well as online at shop.drua.rugby.