News | 14 June 2016

Wellington gives Welsh Rugby team rousing Māori welcome

The Welsh Rugby team will receive a traditional Māori haka pōwhiri welcome at Pipitea marae in Wellington when they arrive in the capital city on Wednesday 15 June.

Poi swinging

The Westpac Stadium is sold out for the event and Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says, Wellingtonians and many other New Zealanders are eager to see the Welsh play the All Blacks next Saturday. 

“We will give the Welsh team a heartfelt, traditional Wellington welcome before they meet the All Blacks on the field,” she says.  

Chair of the Economic Growth and Arts Committee, Cr Jo Coughlan, says Wellington is in for a busy time over the next few months.

“The Welsh test will draw a lot of people into Wellington including some 300 Welsh supporters and we expect a $3 million boost for the local economy,” she says.

“And there is more to come with the Wallabies test against the All Blacks in August which is looking like another sold out event at the Westpac Stadium with a large group of  Australian supporters coming this way,” she says.  

Cr Coughlan predicted the two tests would generate a total of $7 million for the local economy.

“Wellington’s busy events calendar is certainly meeting expectations with more to come when the British and Irish Lions arrive in less than a year accompanied by more than 20,000 international fans,” she says. 

Wellington City Council has been working closely with Ngāti Pōneke Māori Association and members of Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika a Māui in planning the Pōwhiri which will be attended by 120 players and officials.  

Association President Danny Karatea-Goddard says, “This is a huge privilege to welcome and share traditional hospitality manaakitanga with the Welsh Rugby team. We have had many members of Welsh descent in Ngāti Pōneke in past years”.

Also Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga from Hawkes Bay is visiting Pipitea and will play a supporting role during the pōwhiri for the Welsh team.