The Story Behind “Manu Taupunga”

Every team has a mascot, and our mascot at Breakaway Esports is a kea, a beloved native New Zealand bird. However, all good mascots need a name, and that was the aim of our launching Breakaway Esports competition, #NameThatKea. After careful deliberation, we settled on Manu Taupunga, for both it’s roots in New Zealand and it’s awesome meaning!. Our writer Alexicon had a chat with Brendan Craigie whose entry ended up being the winner, to find out exactly what Manu Taupunga means, and how Brendan came to picking the name.


Are you an esports fan,  and if so what esports are you mainly interested in?


I’ve been aware of esports for a while now through things like Dreamhack and the big DOTA and LoL tournaments that seem to get a lot of attention. I’m a big fan of Blizzard games so I’d always be tuning into the Blizzcon matches. My biggest hook recently has been the Overwatch League. I really got into the effort they are putting into it. While I’m not a hardcore esports follower, I do occasionally keep my ear to the ground to see who’s doing what and how the industry improving


Are you clued into New Zealand esports at all, or was Breakaway your first kind of foray into it?


Breakaway was the first local org that grabbed my attention, everything about them felt professional so that was a big sell. Esports is fighting an uphill battle for general audiences so having a foundation that is grounded in not only a professional attitude to the industry and its players is super important to combat the negative stigmas placed against us. That’s why the Overwatch League grabbed me. They’re looking after everybody and are committed to high quality production values that I think most people should be able to follow without too much trouble. When I heard Breakaway had got into OWC I felt the hype and it was real. NZ is really starting to put itself on the ladder and I couldn’t be more excited for it.


So how did you hear about Breakaway?


Pretty sure it was one of the social media platforms but I’m struggling to remember which. It could’ve been through Leon Taylor the BasketballYeti, he’s an old acquaintance from several years ago. I think he posted about Breakaway on his channels and that was my first glance at you guys.


And that was around the time that we had the mascot competition running?


Correct, I saw the Kea and was like “that’s a mascot I can get behind”.


So how did you come up with the name for the mascot?


With a little help from uncle Google to be honest. I knew that Manu meant bird but I wanted to see if there saw more to it. I wanted to find a name that meant something and when I came across Manu Taupunga it was a done deal. Everything about that definition felt like it had a place to represent Breakaway and its core ideals.


And for all of the non-Kiwi’s ones out there, what does it mean?


Literally it means “sentry bird”. A bird that would defend his flock from invaders while they ate from the tree, and much like the Breakaway counterpart, he supports and watches over the players on their way to victory. Manu is the look out for his team.


So what was it like being told that you won?


It was a big surprise, the Breakaway Twitter had announced that a winner had been contacted but it wasn’t expecting to get the shout. Y’all know how to build suspense. Ultimately I’m chuffed that you guys liked my name and I hoped it would serve you all well.


And so for those that might have missed it, what was the prize?


I got hooked up with 5 nights at SKYCITY Hotel, $2,000 spending money and game tickets to the season opening game for the Breakers which was an exciting experience. They had an awesome little surprise for me when I arrived at the hotel, my very own Breakaway team shirt with my Gamer tag on it which I guarantee I’ll be sporting on all the appropriate occasions like competitive matches, weddings, and every opportunity I get.


Brendan also took a trip around #TheDojo, Breakaway’s headquarters in Auckland.


The Dojo was incredible. Sheep showed me around the training courts, the office where it’s always raging. But the Dojo was next level. The wall art of Manu looking over all the rigs was everything I could’ve imagined. I’ll need a Manu poster for my man cave now for sure.


To keep up with all the action for Manu and the team, make sure to stay tuned to our Twitter & Facebook, where you can find all the latest in Breakaway.