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The Welcome into Auckland

 

 

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is in for a typically warm New Zealand welcome on arrival in Auckland.

 

Two sailing waka (Maori ceremonial canoes) will be patrolling just outside the Viaduct Harbour entrance, waiting for their guests. As each yacht comes in, the waka will take up position on each side of the boat to escort it into the harbour. Conches will be blown and oars raised in salutation.

 

Then a karanga (cry of welcome) will be called from the Pohutukawa Tower at the end of the harbour.

 

As the yacht comes further into the harbour, its team song will be played, as it will be each time the boats leave or enter the harbour. These official songs have greeted the boats at each stop on the long ocean race. The team songs all have meaning and resonance for the yacht crews, although sometimes this is a little obscure.

 

For example, while CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand’s song, I See Red, is by iconic New Zealand band Split Enz, Abu Dhabie Ocean Racing’s theme tune is She Sells Sanctuary by British rock band The Cult. France’s entry Groupama chose Highway to Hell by Australian rockers AC/DC, PUMA has Praise You by Fatboy Slim, and China’s Team Sanya has Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, after their Chinese crew member “Tiger” Tendiang He. Spanish team Telefonica has, like New Zealand, gone with a countryman, Jaime Anglada, and the song Cada Noche.

 

When the cheering and whistles accompanying the song subside, the crew will greet their families and leave their boat to go back stage from the welcoming pontoon.

 

Also on the pontoon will be the Pounamu kapa haka group performing a powhiri or ritual greeting ceremony, and crew members will be invited to hongi, or press noses.

 

Government regulations must be observed, and the crew will then go through customs and immigration formalities behind the stage. Next on stage is the official welcome from local and Volvo Ocean Race dignitaries.

 

Each crew member will receive a Kiwi welcome bag which includes a DriPhone cover (a Kiwi invention that protects a phone from water, sand, dust etc) and lots of Kiwi delicacies including pineapple lumps, Marmite, Anzac biscuits, mallow puffs, L&P and much more!

 

Then it’s time for photos and more interviews before the crew is at last free to get together with family and friends for the first time in 20-odd days.

 

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