Around 60 Air New Zealand employees farewelled the All Blacks yesterday morning ahead of their trip to Japan with a moving haka on the tarmac at Auckland International Airport.
Employees from across the airline performed the Air New Zealand haka, Te Mangopare, about the symbol commonly referred to as the koru, which represents the hammerhead shark and how it guides people to Aotearoa.
This was followed by a haka often performed by the All Blacks, Ka Mate.
Air New Zealand cultural development manager Henare Johnson says the performance is especially poignant given the timing.
"This week of course marks the beginning of Ma¬Åori Language Week, but this year is also the 20th anniversary of the first time the New Zealand national anthem was sung in te reo on the global stage. This paved the way for New Zealand to embrace a bilingual anthem.
"As the airline that’s crazy about rugby we were thrilled to be able to give the All Blacks, as ambassadors of our language, our country, and our people, a very special farewell ahead of their next big challenge in Japan. Kia kaha te Kapa a¬ç Pango."