All Blacks Experience Board Chair Dame Julie Christie officially declared the venue open at SkyCity Federal Street, ahead of the newest tourist attraction in Aotearoa welcoming the public from 9.30am tomorrow (2 December).
Dame Julie says: “This is a huge milestone and after a challenging year for everyone, we are really proud to be able to launch this amazing experience for all – whether you’re a long-time rugby fan, new to the game, or just wanting to do something new and exciting.
“Having New Zealand Rugby and Ngāi Tahu Tourism working together has delivered something really special, and I’m excited to see and hear the reaction from people when they experience this state-of-the-art guided encounter.
“Over the last two days we have had former All Blacks, Black Ferns, and representatives from all grades of rugby visit the All Blacks Experience. Judging by their reactions, the attraction is going to bring a lot of joy to both fans and those who are new to our national game.”
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai says the opening is an important milestone for the iwi, which has a proud tradition of whānau being selected for the All Blacks, Māori All Blacks, Black Ferns, and other national rugby teams.
“The All Blacks Experience helps to honour the achievement of all our whānau who have worn the black jersey. The mana of that special jersey is recognised throughout the world, and it is certainly felt strongly by anyone walking through the All Blacks Experience, just as I experienced today.
“We know the pride New Zealanders feel for the All Blacks, Māori All Blacks, and Black Ferns will draw them to this experience and in time we will look forward to welcoming fans from around the world to get a true sense of what it feels like to run out onto that pitch as a member of one of the world’s most famous sporting teams.”
Local mana whenua Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei joined with New Zealand Rugby and Ngāi Tahu Tourism to bless the development yesterday (30 November). The hapū has played a significant role in the opening of the Experience.
All Blacks Experience is the first major tourism attraction in Aotearoa to launch since the outbreak of COVID-19. Around 200 guests were on hand at the VIP launch, including Minister of Tourism Stuart Nash, former All Blacks and whānau, dignitaries, and senior iwi members.
The fully guided, state-of-the-art, interactive showcase features the All Blacks and also celebrates the Black Ferns, and all of New Zealand’s national rugby teams in black. Located in the SkyCity precinct in central Auckland, the Experience features a four-metre-high screen that puts visitors face-to-face with a larger-than-life Test match haka.
Former All Blacks loose forward Josh Kronfield says the attraction has something for everyone.
“The All Blacks Experience is the next closest thing you can get to being an All Black. Face the haka, learn the history and understand what it takes to become an All Black.”
With the largest All Blacks retail store in the country and the only official store where visitors can purchase personalised jerseys, this new attraction is a must for rugby fans.
The All Blacks Experience, a New Zealand Rugby and Ngāi Tahu Tourism joint venture, is open seven days a week from 9.30am to 6.00pm. Tickets are on sale now at www.experienceallblacks.com