All Blacks experience powhiri, 'ava ceremonies in South Auckland

The All Blacks have come together in South Auckland this afternoon with both a traditional powhiri and 'ava ceremony ahead of the 2021 international Test season.

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The exercises were to help the players come together for the new season and appreciate the multiple cultures in the squad. Source: Supplied

With the squad named earlier this week, players - including injured captain Sam Cane - and staff gathered outside Bruce Pulman Park in Takanini in teamwear which featured Pasifika patterns on them before being welcomed with a powhiri into the venue.

Once inside, current captain Sam Whitelock led the team in a traditional Samoan 'ava ceremony in which kava was shared amongst the team leaders.

Aaron Smith drinks kava during an 'ava ceremony at Bruce Pulman Park. Source: Getty

All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu, who is of Samoan decent, said today's experiences were partly to help bring the new squad together and understand the different cultures present.

"The All Blacks have a strong team culture and to be able to do this will just make it stronger," Tuipulotu said.

"It's pretty awesome. You look at the make-up of our team and it's not just one race or one culture and that's the special thing about us."

Tuipulotu said the location of today's customs was also significant.

"You look at where, South Auckland, and there's a lot of Pasifika here and I think it really pays homage to who we are and where we are.

"And especially after Covid - this place has had it tough with a lot of essential workers and border workers around here and a lot of people here make New Zealand work.

"We want to bring smiles to the community."

The All Blacks are in camp this weekend before they head into their first Test-week next week with a historic fixture against Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium taking place next Saturday.