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Largest schoolboy haka stirs emotions in New Zealand

Media release from Nelson Tasman Tourism

Largest schoolboy haka stirs emotions in New Zealand

Nelson, New Zealand – One of the largest haka ever witnessed was performed in Nelson today when 1500 Nelson College schoolboys performed their powerful school haka to mark the significance of the first New Zealand Rugby game - which was played in Nelson in 1870.

A crowd of over 7000 congregated on the main street of Nelson to witness the haka, which raised goosebumps on the arms of many spectators. Mayor Aldo Miccio described the haka as “overwhelmingly exhilarating and truly spectacular – and what a day to perform it on”. Nelson, which is renowned as the sunniest place in New Zealand, lived up to its reputation and the haka was performed in perfect conditions to a truly receptive crowd of locals peppered with international visitors, including members of the Italian rugby team, whom Nelson is playing host to during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The stirring haka was led by Nelson College’s Deputy Maori Head Boy Te Wera Mihaere, whose brother led the haka which welcomed the world to New Zealand in the official Rugby World Cup 2011 Opening Ceremony. Mihaere said performing the haka had been “a pretty cool experience” which he was proud to be a part of. “I couldn’t believe so many people came to watch us” said Mihaere, who performed in full tribal regalia including a painted moko (facial tattoo).

The haka performed was a traditional haka used by Nelson College on special occasions to get their adrenalin pumping prior to challenges ahead. The haka also incorporates Nelson College’s values, goals and aim of preparing young men to take their place in the world. “Knowing who we are and where we are going motivates us on the sports field or court, in the class room and in our community” said Principal Gary O’Shea “and to be able to celebrate the two teams who played the first game of Rugby in NZ with a haka was a great honour for us.”

The school, which is the oldest state secondary school in New Zealand, has a long legacy of firsts, as well as a vast number of famous old boys including scientist Sir Ernest Rutherford, Rugby League star Simon Mannering, 6 Victorian Cross recipients, 20 former All Blacks and the father of New Zealand rugby, Charles Monro.

Following the haka, a horse-drawn carriage transported the Mayor and Mayoress of Nelson to the Botanics Reserve where a Re-enactment of the first game of Rugby in New Zealand, played in 1870, took place. This game celebrated Nelson’s position as the Birthplace of New Zealand Rugby and saw Nelson College and Nelson Rugby Club face off using the official 1862 rugby rules, wearing replica costumes and surrounded by supporters dressed in Victorian era clothing.

Nelson Rugby Club took out the title 3-1 in a fun-filled game which saw a Victorian era streaker (dressed in full 19th Century underwear) chased by policemen, a team brawl and a full traditional pyramid performance by 25 Nelson College students.

A video news reel, imagery and a press release relating to the haka and re-enactment game will be distributed for press use at 0900 GMT on Tuesday 20th September. To download this press package please visit http://dropzone2.oktobor.com Login: nelson Password: nelson


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