Air New Zealand ground crew at Auckland International Aiport have given the All Blacks a spiritual send-off as they depart for the World Cup In Japan with haka performed on the tarmac.
Around 60 Air New Zealand employees performed the Air New Zealand haka, Te Mangopare, about the symbol commonly referred to as the koru, before moving into Ka Mate, a haka often performed by the All Blacks.
Air New Zealand Cultural Development Manager Henare Johnson said the send-off was especially poignant given the timing.
« This week, of course, marks the beginning of Māori Language Week, but this year is also the 20th anniversary of the first time the New Zealand national anthem was sung on the global stage. This paved the way for New Zealand to embrace a bilingual anthem.
« As the airline that’s crazy about rugby we were thrilled to be able to give the All Blacks, as ambassadors of our language, our country, and our people, a very special farewell ahead of their next big challenge in Japan. Kia kaha te Kapa ō Pango. »
The All Blacks are on an 11-hour flight to Japan to begin their preparations to defend the World Cup but could be welcomed by Typhoon Faxai which is currently affecting the eastern part of the country.