National welcome awaits British & Irish Lions at historic birthplace of New Zealand
allblacks.com 23 Apr 2017 Waitangi.org.nz
The event, which will be open to the public, will see the team receive a traditional Powhiri and be welcomed into the famous Whare Runanga (meeting house).
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Chief Executive Greg McManus said he was delighted the visitors had committed to visiting Waitangi the day after their opening match of the DHL NZ Lions Series.
“It will be an honour to have the British & Irish Lions at the birthplace of the nation and it is fitting the team has accepted the invitation to be welcomed onto Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
“There could be no more appropriate place to welcome the team and their supporters to our shores as they embark on their six-week tour of New Zealand.”
New Zealand Rugby General Manager of the DHL NZ Lions Series, Nigel Cass said the event would have special significance for the visitors and New Zealanders alike.
“New Zealanders pride ourselves on our hospitality to international visitors and the event at Waitangi will prove a unique and fitting welcome for the visiting British & Irish Lions.
“As well as welcoming the team, we’re also very grateful to Waitangi Treaty Grounds for opening the event to visiting fans and locals. It will make for a truly incredible atmosphere and is set to be a highlight of the Series.”
British & Irish Lions Tour Manager, John Spencer said the team saw the planned welcome at Waitangi as an important introduction to New Zealand’s culture and traditions.
“The welcome at Waitangi will be a moving experience for all our team and one that I know they are looking forward to.
“Being culturally prepared for our tour of New Zealand is important to us and something we intend to embrace by sharing some of our team’s cultures, whether it be in English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish.”
The Lions journey to the meeting house will involve a Taua (Warrior contingent) including a three-part challenge with each kaiwero (challenger) presenting a taki (offering) on the ground in front of three selected Lions representatives.
This part of the ceremony will conclude with a karanga (call of welcome) and haka.
The powhiri ceremony will begin in front of the ceremonial war canoe Ngatokimatawhaorua and conclude at Te Whare Rungnga with whaikorero (speeches) and waiata from both sides before a customary shared meal.
Tickets are on sale for the opening match of the DHL NZ Lions Series featuring the Lions against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on 3 June at Toll Stadium, Whangarei at www.nzlionsseries17.com
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