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Lions to be welcomed at Waitangi

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/04/2017

The British and Irish Lions squad will witness a haka where Maori chiefs first signed New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi.

There will be a traditional powhiri, or welcome, for the visitors at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in Northland on June 4, the day after the first match against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei.

The welcome will begin in front of the ceremonial war canoe Ngatokimatawhaorua and conclude at Te Whare Runanga, the meeting house.

It includes a three-part challenge with each kaiwero, or challenger, presenting a taki (offering) on the ground in front of three selected Lions representatives.

This will be followed by a karanga, or call of welcome, and haka.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds chief executive Greg McManus said he was delighted the team had accepted the invitation.

"It will be an honour to have the British and Irish Lions at the birthplace of the nation," he said.

"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."

General manager of the series, Nigel Cass, said as well as welcoming the team, New Zealand Rugby was 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," he said.

More information on attending the welcome will be announced prior to the arrival of the Lions.

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