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Tura Sports designs on world stage

Tuesday 24 July 2012
Flyer

While most people get set to watch the Olympics for its world class athletes, Tara-Lee Manu is gearing up to watch the event for a different reason.

Ms Manu will gain international exposure during the major event, as the designer of team Papua New Guinea’s formal and teamwear.

The New Plymouth woman, who runs Tura Sports, was invited to tender for the contract and said it was an amazing opportunity to land the job.

“We’re such a new label, so to be able to get the exposure on the world stage is just awesome. It’s funny. One of my goals was to get an Olympic or Commonwealth team and we’ve achieved that goal a lot quicker than anticipated.”

Tura Sports falls under the umbrella of Total Uniform Solutions and has only been running for about 18 months, said Ms Manu.

As a former designer for Kooga, who kit out the likes of NRL teams Melbourne Storm and Newcastle Knights, Ms Manu said it was her rugby league connections which helped her land the contract.

“I first went over to Papua New Guinea and did all the merchandising for their NRL bid the year before last. The support has grown from there really,” she said.

The Team PNG range is titled Those Who Fly, said Ms Manu, with its main feature being a star motif.

“That’s a significant symbol within the PNG culture and it sort of just acknowledges the level that these athletes have to achieve at.”

Ms Manu said the PNG organisation was immediately impressed with her original designs and felt her strength was incorporating a story into the designs.

“The main thing is understanding that teams want to feel that mana when they perform. They want to perform in something that means something to them.

“That’s a big part of what we do. We understand the importance of New Zealand culture and they have that same type of thing over there.”

Although PNG has a team of just eight athletes, Ms Manu has designed a total of 22 garments for 60 people, who include coaching and management staff.

The former Gold Coast resident said she was looking forward to kicking her feet up on Saturday to watch her designs on the world stage. “I’m looking forward to having a wine and watching the opening ceremony,” she said.

Credits: HANNAH FLEMING