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Help welcome the world here to play

Help welcome the world here to play

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is encouraging Aucklanders to share a moment of history as our city becomes the first in New Zealand to welcome the world here to play for Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011).

"We're proud to be hosting five official Team Welcome Ceremonies and eight Airport Arrival events leading up to the start of the Tournament; the most of any city," says Len Brown.

"These events will be the start of the RWC 2011 experience in New Zealand for these teams and it's up to Aucklanders to share our spirit of hospitality and give them a deserving and memorable greeting," he says.

"Let's show these teams the ultimate Auckland welcome."

Auckland Team Welcome Ceremonies

* Japan - Thursday, 1 September in Aotea Square (begins 11am; team arrives 12pm)
* France - Saturday, 3 September at Orakei Marae (begins 11.30am; team arrives 12pm)
* New Zealand - Saturday, 3 September in Aotea Square (begins 3.30pm; team arrives 4.30pm)
* Tonga - Tuesday, 6 September at Papakura Marae (begins 11am; team arrives 12pm)
* Australia - Tuesday, 6 September in Aotea Square (begins 4pm; team arrives 5pm).

A key part of each Official Team Welcome is the capping ceremony, where members receive an official commemorative cap marking their participation in the seventh Rugby World Cup.

As well as a chance to mingle with players, there'll be some great entertainment, music and face painting, and fans are encouraged to dress up and get behind their team of choice.

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Auckland Team Airport Arrival events

Auckland will also welcome eight teams as they arrive at Auckland International Airport with smaller ceremonies outside the main arrivals terminal, including kapa haka and other cultural elements.

* Fiji - Monday, 29 August (team arrives 3.15pm)
* England - Wednesday, 31 August (5.30am)
* Japan - Wednesday, 31 August (8am)
* France - Wednesday, 31 August (1pm)
* Samoa - Thursday, 1 September (5.15pm)
* Namibia - Thursday, 1 September (9pm)
* Tonga - Monday, 5 September (1.20pm)
* Australia - Tuesday, 6 September (11.25am)
(Please note these times are subject to change)

All events are free and are a great way to get involved in the excitement as Auckland gears up for RWC 2011.

People can visit http://www.auckland2011.com for more details.

Ends.

About the RWC 2011 Auckland Co-ordination Group
Led by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Ltd (ATEED), the RWC 2011 Auckland Co-ordination Group is made up of key Auckland organisations including Auckland Council, transport agencies, business groups, rugby unions and match and training venues. The group and its workstreams are preparing Auckland for RWC 2011 in areas such as transport, business programmes, tourism, training venues and supporting events.

For more information on Auckland's preparations for RWC 2011 visit http://www.auckland2011.com.

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