Regional | All Blacks

Ceremonial welcome for some famous visitors

The welcome at Tangoio Marae

The All Blacks world cup squad is on a feel-good mission in Hawke’s Bay. The players have been helping lift people’s spirits as part of cyclone recovery and paid a special visit to Tangoio Marae near Napier, which was almost destroyed by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The All Blacks were a welcome sight for the people of Tangoio, where families are still dealing with the aftermath of the cyclone.

Locals and their children and Ngāti Kahungunu chairman Bayden Barber greeted the All Blacks with a pōhiri.

“Welcome, here are our children, who are ecstatic to see your faces here today, so welcome.” Barber said.

Tangoio Marae chairman Hori Reti, also greeted the team: “Our hearts are overjoyed with the arrival of the All Blacks among us.”

Flooding and silt devastated the marae in February, and the clean-up is still going on but Reti says now there are extra workers lending a hand.

“Clearing of dirt and silt is the main mahi of the day... also driving heavy machinery to clear up the silt, using diggers. There’s a lot.”

Tangoio Marae is in a high flood-risk zone, and most of the surrounding homes were uninsured and remain uninhabitable. Only the wharenui was salvageable and relocation is now something Ngāti Marangatūhetaua is considering. So the All Blacks visit was a welcome distraction.

“Our spirits have been lifted, and the spirits of the families have been lifted with them coming along. That is something we will cherish.” Reti said.

The All Blacks begin their Rugby World Cup campaign in France next month.