07 February 2006
By Simon Bloomberg
UP FOR GRABS: Thorkild Hansen with the new
Super 14 trophy created by the team at
Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmiths in Nelson.
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Nelson Mail
A Nelson jeweller keeps making things that attract powerful forces.
And like the evil wizard Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, the players in the Super 14 desperately want to get their hands on Mr Hansen's creation. The sterling silver trophy symbolises rugby supremacy in the southern hemisphere and will be contested by five teams from New Zealand and South Africa and four from Australia.First Thorkild Hansen and his late father Jens of Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith crafted the rings for the blockbuster movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Now Mr Hansen has just finished making a trophy for the inaugural Super 14 rugby competition starting on Friday.
Mr Hansen said he was commissioned to make the trophy by the joint South African, New Zealand and Australian rugby board last November. About 200 hours of hammering, cutting, soldering and polishing later, the 49cm, 2.5kg trophy was last week sent to rugby headquarters in Wellington.
Photographs of the work in progress will be posted on their website, jenshansen.com, Mr Hansen said.
"It was a cool thing to be able to do," he said. "We are such a small place and we've shown that Nelson has the goods - we are proud of that."
Although Mr Hansen would not reveal how much the trophy cost to make, he said there was "more labour in it than metal." It was a real team effort with his brother Halfdan and staff Heath Neilson all helping out, he said.
New Zealand Rugby Union sponsorship and marketing manager Fraser Holland said this morning that they were delighted with the trophy.
"It's just awesome - we're thrilled," Mr Holland said. "The visual affect and the quality of the craft is fantastic.
"It will really stand out in the trophy cabinet. It's very modern and that's what this competition is all about."
Mr Holland declined to say how much the trophy cost, although it would be insured "for a significant sum".