TJ Perenara says he gave Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern his All Blacks jersey last night because "she's important to me, my family and my community and it was something that felt right for me to do."
Perenara was photographed giving the jersey to a somewhat surprised Ms Ardern under Eden Park's South Stand after playing his 47th Test, against the Wallabies.
Later on, speaking to media, he said the jersey was a gift from his entire family and his wider community.
"The values that she stands by, and my family's always been strong Labour and I’m proud to be strong Labour as well," Perenara said.
"And my community is for the most part strong Labour as well, but on my community's behalf, for me to be able to gift something, like I say, not only on my behalf is special to me."
He said the jersey offer caught the prime minister off-guard.
"It was a special moment for me, she was a little bit …I don't know the right word – she was happy with it too," he said.
"She was thrown off I guess, she didn't expect it.
"But for me it was more special from me, not just on behalf of myself but my family and my community to."
Ms Ardern was, for the first time, onstage after last night's match to present the Bledisloe Cup to Kieran Read.
She was later welcomed into the All Blacks dressing room by coach Steve Hansen and spent time, with partner Clarke Gayford and Finance Minister and big All Blacks fan Grant Robertson, chatting to the players.
The All Blacks won the match 40-12 to keep the Bledisloe Cup and now have a week off before joining up again to take on the Pumas in Nelson in a fortnight.