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Auckland’s All Blacks Experience to open on 2nd December

Auckland’s All Blacks Experience to open on 2nd December
November 16, 2020

With just over two weeks until the opening of the All Blacks Experience on 2nd December, finishing touches are being put to Auckland's newest tourist attraction.

A fully guided, state-of-the-art, interactive showcase of the All Blacks, Black Ferns, and all on New Zealand’s national rugby teams in black, the All Blacks Experience comes complete with the smells of liniment, and features a 4-metre-high screen that puts visitors face-to-face with a larger-than-life Test match haka.

All Blacks Experience Board Chair Dame Julie Christie says the team are thrilled to be this close to launch day, and the excitement is growing, commenting “we recently had some of the All Blacks go through the experience, and they were buzzing at how close you get to life in their boots.

“From sitting inside the changing room, to the feeling they get moments before walking out onto the pitch, there is no other attraction like it, and that’s fantastic for Tāmaki Makaurau and the whole country. What’s really unique is that this is an experience for everyone - rugby fan or not. It’s what it says about Aotearoa and the part the game plays in our history and our lives, that is so moving.”

The All Blacks Experience is a joint venture partnership between New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Ngāi Tahu Tourism that has been seven years in the making.

An advisory group helped create the attraction, which included former All Blacks Ian Jones’ Tana Umaga and Ian Kirkpatrick; Black Fern Sarah Hirini (nee Goss); New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association Chief Executive, Rob Nichol; and two-time Rugby World Cup winning former All Black captain Richie McCaw.

Dame Julie says the group was instrumental in creating an authentic experience, noting “we’ve been so fortunate to have the help of past All Blacks and Black Ferns in bringing this together. Their advice has ensured we are delivering something heartfelt and genuine. They really wanted to share what’s it’s like to pull on that black jersey.”

17 team members have been recruited for All Blacks Experience, including seven tour guides who will host manuhiri (visitors).

All Blacks Experience General Manager Phil McGowan says the attraction caters to long-time followers of rugby and those people new to the game, adding “one of the great things about All Blacks Experience is that you get to hear from the players in their own words - what goes into becoming an All Black or Black Fern, what it’s like to pull on the jersey for the first time, and just how important culture is to their environment.

“Also, in our interactive zones, visitors get to test themselves against the players, and see whether they’d make the same decision they did at a crucial moment of the game.”

The All Blacks Experience is located in the SkyCity entertainment precinct.

Images: The All Blacks at Bankwest Stadium, Sydney (top, courtesy of ankwest Stadium) and the concept for the All Blacks Experience (below).

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