The father of three from Invercargill impressed the judges with his rendition of Ngati Toa's Ka Mate haka performed as a song taking the Grand Prize – an All Blacks Tours ‘All Finals Package’ for two to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Murray, who was mid-shear when a surprise party descended on his workplace to deliver the good news, said winning the prize was a lot to take in but was a dream come true.
“It’s just so humbling to be honest. It’s a dream to go over and watch a World Cup and something I never thought I’d get to do. It’s so cool.”
Murray said he had been a bundle of nerves putting in his entry, and sharing his artistic talents with a wider audience, but was now glad he’d followed through.
His winning entry also caught the eye of iconic Kiwi band Six60. Bass guitarist, Chris Mac, volunteered to join the surprise announcement, and encouraged Murray to give an impromptu performance of the winning act for his family and co-workers.
“I loved Ash’s entry and was stoked to be able to help deliver the news to him. We also snuck a guitar into the shed and were lucky enough to get a live performance. It was an awesome experience to be part of.”
NZR Head of Brand, Marketing and Retail Ventures, Todd Barberel, said NZR had received more than a thousand entries since the campaign launched in July and Murray’s had stood out for its originality, passion and creativity.
“Ash’s entry was a definite stand-out and his rendition of Ka Mate showed creativity, originality and most importantly, the back black spirit. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m sure he’ll have an incredible experience in Japan.
“We have been overwhelmed with entries from all over the globe and we still have some major prizes still up for grabs like a signed and framed 2019 Rugby World Cup All Blacks jersey. We’re looking forward to seeing more of the amazing, entertaining and unique ways our fans back black.”
With major and spot prizes still up for grabs, including a signed, framed All Blacks 2019 Rugby World Cup jersey, fans around the world are still encouraged to take part in #BACKBLACK by posting their pictures, videos and stories to any social media channels, tagging the All Blacks, and using the hashtag #BACKBLACK. You can also enter at www.allblacks.com/backblack.
New Zealand Rugby acknowledges that the Haka Ka Mate was composed by Te Rauparaha, a chief of Ngāti Toa Rangatira, and is a taonga (treasure) of the Ngāti Toa Rangatira Tribe.