Local artist, Robyn Brown, has symbolically connected the NZ Warriors with their families back home through a unique piece of surfboard art she calls ‘desert dreaming’.
As an expat Kiwi who has lived on the Central Coast for 20 years, Brown said she felt a wave of empathy for the New Zealand NRL team separated from their families for many months because of the pandemic.
Inspired by a trip she took to Uluru, Brown painted an intricate design on a retired surfboard used in the local surf and then asked the Central Coast-based NRL team to sign their names on the back of the board.
After collecting the board, she personally took it to Auckland to hand over to the New Zealand Warriors’ home ground at Mt Smart.
The work now adorns the wall at the entry of the home clubhouse at Mt Smart Stadium.
Robyn said the gesture was to help create a connection between the team and their families in NZ and the Central Coast.
“It’s an incredible honour to have been received so warmly by the NZ Warriors NRL team,” Brown said.
“When I came in contact with the team’s management, I was surprised how quickly they warmed to the project.
“It was a nice little bridge after COVID between the team and their family back home.”
“As soon as the bubble opened and we could get back to family and loved ones, I was able to do the same,” she said.
“It was really lovely for me being an expat to deliver something like that, which is also a big part of the Australian culture and the New Zealand culture, and building that bridge which was nice.”
“I know how much it impacted their team, not being with their families and not on their home ground.”
The NZ Warriors have been temporarily relocated to Terrigal to live and adopted the Central Coast Stadium as their home ground during the COVID NRL season.
“It was so warmly received; the management, the team, they were absolutely beautiful and really respectful.
“They embraced the whole idea of taking back a little message to their family and friends and having that connection between the Central Coast and Auckland.”
At the revealing of the art work New Zealand Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck thanked Robyn personally saying “We’ll definitely take this away and have pride in it and show our family and friends what people from the Central Coast do for us”
The artwork can be viewed by fans and family at the NZ Warriors club house at Mt Smart in Auckland.
Robyn Brown has painted upcycled surfboard for 20 years. Her website is robynbrown.art