To celebrate Super Rugby Pacific’s 2023 Culture Round, the Melbourne Rebels will take on the name of the ‘Naarm Rebels’.
The name change compliments a redesign of the Club’s logo as well as the 2023 Culture Jersey design, which celebrates both First Nation and Pasifika cultures.
The efforts are done in concert to acknowledge cultures that are increasingly significant to the Melbourne Rebels. While there are 29 different cultures across the Club for 2023, the Club acknowledges the significance of our participants and the land on which we reside.
Naarm (or Naarm and Nairm) is the First Nations name for Melbourne, which resides in Wurundjeri land, and represents the lands in which the Club plays and trains.
Naarm is part of the Kulin Nation, which is a collective of five Aboriginal nations in Central Victoria: Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Wathaurrung, Taungurung and Dja DjaWrung. Their collective territory extends across Southern Central Victoria, around Port Phillip and Western Port Bays, up into the Great Dividing Range and the Loddon and Goulburn River.
The word ‘Narrm’ is derived from Woiwurrung, the language used by the traditional owners in the Port Phillip area.
The Culture Round jersey is designed by Melbourne Rebels Creative Lead Shamila Maralande alongside artists Katie Bugden, former Rebels Super W player and proud Kamilaroi woman, and Isaac Westerlund, a proud New Zealand man with Tongan and Samoan heritage.
The jersey celebrates First Nations people, honouring them through the visualisation of the Yarra River, and the communities that gather around it, including our expansive Pasifika community that has journeyed to Naarm and now resides on Wurundjeri land.
The blue line travelling along the chest represents the Yarra River which is revered by our first Nations people and sits at the heart of Melbourne.
The crescent red motifs that border it represents the communities and people (both men and women) that live along the Yarra.
The Pasifika patterns combine on the base of the jersey honouring Tongan, Samoan, Niuean, Fijian and Cook Island cultures, they work together in a vee straddling the first Nations patterns living in harmony on the jersey, the same way we come together to live and play together in Naarm. All five patterns swirl together to form a circular motif on the sleeve.
The First Nations deities that are represented on the jersey are Bunjil, the creator deity who soars over the Naarm Rebels logo. Residing on the back of the jersey is the crow Waang, the ancestorial being, who is known as a trickster. Both are the traditional names of the moiety ancestors in the Kulin nation from Central Victoria.
The Wedge-Tailed Eagle, the physical form of Bunjil, the Wurundjeri’s creator deity, is the highlight of the reimagined logo.
Bunjil is a creator deity, a deity that is responsible for the creation of the earth, world, and universe. He is seen soaring majestically, with an outstretched wing hovering over the traditional Rebels shield, to acknowledge a connection between the old and the new.