Local artist builds connection with Warriors’ homeland

NZ Warriors at the Central Coast Stadium (L-R) Bunty Afoa, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Robyn Brown, Edward Kosi, Jazz Tevaga

Local artist, Robyn Brown, has symbolically connected the New Zealand Warriors with their families back home through a unique piece of art she calls Desert Dreaming.

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.

Then she personally took the board to Auckland to hand it 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 and New Zealand 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 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.

“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.

Jacinta Counihan