Published Thursday 28 June 2012

The New Zealand Olympic Committee unveiled its team uniform for the London Olympic Games this evening with a nod to our proud sporting past.

The formal and casual wear collections revealed strong links to the last time New Zealand athletes competed in London. It was 1948 and a team of seven New Zealand athletes travelled by ship to the Olympic Games that took place in a city still ravaged by war.

This inspiration is most evident in the lines and detail used in the men's and women's official blazers, which are the cornerstone of the range. By building the rest of the range on the tradition that has been woven into this blazer design – Rodd & Gunn have paid tribute to New Zealand’s proud Olympic past – while adapting the blazer to give it a more modern edge.

The key element of the design is the 'white piping' along the edges of the blazers – which is also the most significant link to the 1948 heritage.

With the design of the blazer finalised, the rest of the collection followed naturally – while also sharing a strong connection to the look and feel of the late 40's and early 1950's.

For the design team, the goal was to create a look that would tie into New Zealand’s proud sporting and cultural heritage – while also meeting the challenge of creating a collection suitable for athletes of all ages, body types, shapes and sizes.

The fabric was especially sourced by Rodd and Gunn head designer Irena Prikryll in Italy.

The casual and training wear range, designed and manufactured by international sportswear company PEAK Clothing, also reflects the inspiration of the 1948 team. A flash of Pacific blue is also incorporated into the range that includes a dry-fit range suitable for training and a comfortable cotton range for use relaxing in the Olympic village our out supporting team mates. The range also includes classic Kiwi jandals, rain-wear especially designed for an English summer, travel bags, sports shoes and sun hats as well as the official podium tracksuit. This classic tracksuit features the London mark, inspired by the 1948 team’s blazer pocket and a repeating silver fern pattern.

“The uniform is outstanding and the design teams from both Peak and Rodd & Gunn have done an incredible job in bringing our proud Olympic history to life,” he said. “The athlete design team also played an invaluable role in creating our London uniform.”

The athlete design team included Mahe Drysdale, Nathan Twaddle, Chantal Brunner, Sarah Ulmer and others. They provided an athlete perspective on the look, fit and comfort of the uniform.

The athlete uniform also features for the first time a tee shirt designed by a member of the public. A national contest attracted more than 3500 entries in which children, professional designers alike were asked to design a tee shirt that reflect what it mean to be a proud New Zealander at the Olympic Games. The contest was won by Gareth Gardner of Brooklyn, Wellington with his Hei Tiki design. The tee shirt features the iconic hei tiki cleverly adapted for the Olympic games.

Official New Zealand Olympic Team supporters’ wear is on sale now at Rodd & Gunn stores throughout New Zealand and in Kiwi House in London.

A total of 20,000 items have been created for the New Zealand Olympic team that includes up to 200 athletes and 100 support staff. Design and production for the team uniform took over 18 months to complete.