Tongan Rugby Team borrow RAMM artefact
29 September 2015
A Tongan club from RAMM’s collection was part of a ceremony yesterday evening when the Tongan team were presented with their jerseys in advance of today’s game. The wooden club is one of a collection which were presented to Captain Cook in the late 18th century when he was on a world voyage. The clubs, along with some bark cloths which were presented at the same time, are currently part of “The Art of Tonga”, one of RAMM’s displays for Rugby World Cup.
The Tongan team paid respects to their ancestors and others who have worn the jersey before them. There were speeches, singing, and each player was called up by name to be presented with their jersey.
Head Coach Mana ‘Otai said: “It is important for us as to celebrate the links between England and Tonga, we are very fortunate that the Royal Albert Memorial Museum has been able to be a part of our ceremonies and given the boys a chance to see a part of Tongan culture they may not have been able to see otherwise.”
Kyle Willoughby, the team’s media manager said: “We have felt blessed to be in such a warm and welcoming city. We know that we have made a number of new friends in our time here, and we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all who have contributed to such a memorable experience.”
Camilla Hampshire, Museums Manager and Cultural Lead for Exeter City Council said: “I was honoured to take one of the museum’s Tongan clubs to be displayed at the jersey ceremony. It was a truly memorable experience. We have been delighted to welcome the Tongan team to the museum and to make this very special connection through Rugby World Cup with these historic objects.”
Cllr Pete Edwards said: “We feel very privileged to have made this connection with the Tongan team through RAMM’s objects. To be present at the jersey ceremony was an amazing experience which will stay with me for a long time. It was one of the moments that make Rugby World Cup 2015 very special for the city.”