City Freedom for Herbert's 'Unbeatables'

22 July 2010

Ricki Herbert and the undefeated All Whites are to receive another honour - Freedom of the City of Wellington.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast will present Ricki with a framed proclamation on the pitch shortly before kick-off at tomorrow night's Phoenix match against the Argentinean team Boca Juniors.

The All Whites were yesterday welcomed back to Wellington - the city where they launched themselves into the FIFA World Cup with a heart-stopping win over Bahrain - with a colourful tickertape parade and lively reception in Civic Square.

The proclamation states that the honour is awarded "in recognition of their achievements in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, when the undefeated All Whites did New Zealand proud on the biggest stage in world sport".

Mayor Prendergast said: "There is tremendous pride in the All Whites' achievements, as the thousands of Wellingtonians who greeted them at the parade showed.

"Wellington is undoubtedly the spiritual home of football in New Zealand and this is a way the Capital can show its appreciation for what our national side achieved. Tomorrow will be a magnificent chance for fans to do the same - and to give the Phoenix a great start to the A-League season."

Freedom of the City is a ceremonial award, used by cities around the world to express admiration for an individual's or group's achievements.

The last individual to receive Freedom of the City of Wellington was golfer Michael Campbell, after his stunning victory in the US Open in 2005. More recently, Vietnam War veterans were given the honour as part of Tribute 08.

Historic recipients include the Wellington Regiment in 1938, giving it the right to call itself The City of Wellington's Own, and the much-loved dockyard dog Paddy the Wanderer in 1935.

In 2002 film industry leaders Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Richard Taylor and Tania Rodgers were given the similar honour of Keys to the City in recognition of their achievements with the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.