2:24 PM, 13 Jul 2006
New Zealand rugby has its newest trophy and the new symbol of provincial rugby supremacy - the Air New Zealand Cup.
The stunning new trophy was unveiled by New Zealand Rugby Union Deputy Chief Executive Steve Tew and Air New Zealand Chief Executive Rob Fyfe at the official launch of the Air New Zealand Cup competition in Auckland today.
Handcrafted from 2.7 kilograms of sterling silver and sitting on a basalt base, the Air New Zealand Cup is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional rugby trophy and is based on the Air New Zealand Cup logo which represents a winged ball in flight.
The trophy is the second rugby trophy made this year by leading New Zealand gold and silversmith workshop Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith, from Nelson. The workshop, which made the famous 'One Ring' for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy, also made the Rebel Sport Super 14 trophy.
Mr Fyfe said the new trophy was a testament to local workmanship.
"Once again, Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith has done an outstanding job in crafting a trophy that any captain would be proud to raise above his head. The artful incorporation of 'wings' into the trophy's handles serves a practical purpose, while figuratively highlighting the winning team's 'flight' and Air New Zealand's sponsorship of the competition," he said.
Mr Tew said the new trophy could proudly stand alongside New Zealand's other coveted trophies and will be fiercely contested by the 14 Provincial Unions in the inaugural year of the Air New Zealand Cup.
"We have a brand new competition and now a striking new Cup to go with it, with the shape suggesting the pace, movement and physical nature of the provincial game. It will be a fantastic addition to the trophy cabinet of one of the 14 Air New Zealand Cup teams," he said.
Jens Hansen silversmith Thorkild Hansen said they had spent three months working on the Cup and had worked in close partnership with the NZRU and Wellington design company DNA Designed Communications who developed the Air New Zealand Cup logo as well as the Cup's shape and detailing.
"Designing a Cup for hand forging rather than casting is not a simple task. So the team in Wellington worked closely with us to make sure the design was do-able using our traditional processes. We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of taking the concept through to completion," Mr Hansen said.
The Air New Zealand Cup will go on public display for the first time at the opening match of the Air New Zealand Cup competition, when Hawke's Bay hosts Canterbury in Napier on Friday 28 July.
The Air New Zealand Cup - key facts
Standing 45cm tall and weighing 3.9 kilograms, the Air New Zealand Cup was hand forged from 2.7 kilograms of sterling silver by master silversmith Thorkild Hansen. The inside of the cup is gilded with gold. Waihi stone carver Jeff Beckwith handcrafted the polished stone base from black basalt quarried from the Bombay Hills.