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Mon, 24 April 2017

British & Irish Lions to Receive Special Welcome in New Zealand on 4 June 2017

The British & Irish Lions squad and support staff will receive a special welcome at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand on 4 June 2017.

The event, which will be open to the public, will see the team receive a traditional Pōwhiri and be welcomed into the famous Whare Rūnanga (meeting house).

British & Irish Lions Tour Manager, John Spencer said, "The welcome at Waitangi will be a moving experience for all our team and one that I know they are looking forward to. Being culturally prepared for our tour of New Zealand is important to us and something we intend to embrace by sharing some of our team's cultures, whether it be in English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish."

The Lions journey to the meeting house will involve a Taua (Warrior contingent) including a three-part challenge with each kaiwero (challenger) presenting a taki (offering) on the ground in front of three selected Lions representatives. This part of the ceremony will conclude with a karanga (call of welcome) and haka.

The British & Irish Lions squad and support staff will receive a special welcome at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand on 4 June 2017

The pōwhiri ceremony will begin in front of the ceremonial war canoe Ngātokimatawhaorua and conclude at Te Whare Rūngnga with whaikōrero (speeches) and waiata from both sides before a customary shared meal.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Chief Executive Greg McManus said, "It will be an honour to have the British & Irish Lions at the birthplace of the nation and it is fitting the team has accepted the invitation to be welcomed onto Waitangi Treaty Grounds. There could be no more appropriate place to welcome the team and their supporters to our shores as they embark on their six-week tour of New Zealand."

New Zealand Rugby General Manager of the DHL NZ Lions Series, Nigel Cass said, "New Zealanders pride ourselves on our hospitality to international visitors and the event at Waitangi will prove a unique and fitting welcome for the visiting British & Irish Lions. As well as welcoming the team, we're also very grateful to Waitangi Treaty Grounds for opening the event to visiting fans and locals. It will make for a truly incredible atmosphere and is set to be a highlight of the series."

Rugby pictures: Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015, Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong Kong, Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015, Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013, Pictures of Chartis Cup 2012 and Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.

See other recent news regarding: Lions, Rugby, New Zealand.

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