Rugby League World Cup Team Welcome on Auckland’s waterfront

Press Release – New Zealand Rugby League

17 October 2018
Rugby League World Cup 2017 Team Welcome on Auckland’s waterfront

Free event includes a waka challenge, haka and siva tau, and celebrity appearances

Watch the best New Zealand and Samoa rugby league players battle it out on the water, going head-to-head in a waka challenge, before their Rugby League World Cup 2017 (RLWC2017) clash at Mt Smart Stadium.

The challenge is part of the Team Welcome, at the Viaduct Harbour and Karanga Plaza, on Wednesday, 25 October, 12 noon to 4pm and will feature lucky competition winners.

There will be free family-friendly fan activities, haka and siva tau welcoming the teams and an opportunity to have a photo with the World Cup.

The welcome takes place three days before Auckland hosts New Zealand’s opening match against Samoa at Mt Smart Stadium, on Saturday, 28 October. Mt Smart is also the venue for the RLWC2017 semi-final, on Saturday, 25 November.

Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager Destination Steve Armitage, says Auckland is looking forward to welcoming RLWC2017 as part of the region’s great line-up of events in spring.

“The countdown is on for Auckland to shine on the world’s stage as a host city for the RLWC2017. New Zealand and Samoa are both Pacific countries with strong connections with the ocean. It’s fitting both the teams and the tournament will be welcomed at the Viaduct Harbour – especially with a waka challenge.

“The tournament is just one of many stellar events in Auckland’s spring line-up. The inaugural MCKAYSON New Zealand Open and Auckland Diwali Festival were held recently, the ASB Auckland Marathon is coming up, and we’ve got the Taste of Auckland food festival, ITM Auckland SuperSprint and new event EQUITANA to look forward to in November.”

Rugby league will take over Karanga Plaza and the Viaduct Harbour for the afternoon during the Team Welcome, with activities where fans can welcome the teams and meet their heroes for signings and selfies.

A special celebrity waka race will include TVNZ’s Brodie Kane; former league stars Nigel Vagana, Lesley Vainikolo and Wairangi Koopu; Black Ferns captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili; Miss Universe NZ Harlem Cruz Atarangi Ihaia; Miss Samoa NZ Natalie Toevai; Newshub reporter Ryan Bridge, with more names to come.

There will be haka and siva tau, and Rowandale School and Weymouth Intermediate will form a guard of honour for the teams.

Schools are invited to come and enjoy the afternoon’s celebrations. Four schools which entered the Rugby League World Cup 2017 Schools Programme competition won bus transfers to and from the event: Sunnyhills Primary School; Papatoetoe Intermediate; Te Atatu Intermediate; and Rangeview Intermediate.

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