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Powhiri for Maori All Blacks in Chicago

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/11/2016 Angelo Risso

Four Maori All Blacks have paid a visit to the only wharenui in the western hemisphere ahead of Friday's match against USA.

The wharenui, built in Tokomaru Bay in 1881, was purchased in Germany by Chicago's Field Museum in 1905 and is used for public events and gatherings.

It was built in honour of Maori mythological figure Ruatepupuke.

Maori All Blacks Ihaia West, Kane Hames, Whetu Douglas and Sean Wainui, as well as assistant boss Tana Umaga, received a powhiri at the museum on Thursday morning.

Maori songs were sung, and the group were welcomed by representatives from the Native American community, Filipino-American community and Pacific Island community.

A delegation from New Zealand's Maori community also spoke, and performed a haka with the four players at the end of the ceremony.

New York Consul-General Beatrice Faumuina, former world and Commonwealth discus champion, was present on behalf of the Kiwi government.

"It's because of a willing heart, willing mind and faith that we are able to stand here together, united," Ms Faumuina said.

"My heart is full."

The Maori All Blacks squad will be presented with their jerseys in the wharenui on Thursday evening before taking on the Eagles a day later.

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