Black Ferns: Ruby Tui sung Happy Birthday at Parliament celebration

December 13, 2022

Wellington has turned on the magic for the Black Ferns today with poi, speeches and even a timely rendition of Happy Birthday performed by a lively crowd and political officials.

The Black Ferns were welcomed on to the steps outside parliament this afternoon to continue their nationwide tour to celebrate last month's Rugby World Cup win on home soil in which they pipped England 34-31 in front of a sold out Eden Park.

After being welcomed out by the impressively-sized capital crowd, the event kicked off with a few speeches from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Wellington mayor Tory Whanau as well as now-retired Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith.

Ardern, who noted there were representatives from every political party at the event to show their respect to the side, said the Black Ferns' campaign was one that history will remember fondly.

"We will remember where we were when we watched those games for the World Cup but we will especially remember where we were when we watched that World Cup final," Ardern said.

"And for those who were lucky enough to be there in person, they will remember the experience of a lifetime and that's because they got to see in person how powerful this team is; the power of their haka, the power of their plays, the power of their sportsmanship."

Whanau added the Black Ferns have raised women's sport in New Zealand up as well.

The Black Ferns pose with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at their tour event in Wellington.

"You've inspired our next generation of young women and young men," she said.

"You may not have played here in Pōneke [Wellington] but I know you can feel the aroha [love] and felt the aroha that night you won because we love you very much.

"We'd love to see you here as world champions playing in the capital."

Wellington fans turn out for the Black Ferns' tour event.

In response, a chipper Smith thanked everyone for the support, messages and turnout today before emphasising the importance of "whakapapa" [genealogy, history] not just to his team, but New Zealand as a whole.

"We wanted to represent our DNA in the country, our tangata whenua, our pioneers who settled this place; they used to make everything out of flax and fix everything else with No.8 wire and they reinvented themselves constantly and that's what we wanted to do," he said.

After the speeches, a short question and answer session was held before the crowd got a chance to get involved, wishing star winger Ruby Tui a happy birthday with a song before pulling out poi to dance along to Poi E - an anthem and key symbol of the World Cup.

With the formalities out the way, the players then got to go down to the crowd and mingle and sign autographs with their Wellington fans.

The tour continues tomorrow in Ruatoki before wrapping up with trips to Whakatāne, Ōmāio, Gisborne and a finale back in Auckland at the World Schools Sevens tournament at Pakuranga Rugby Club this Sunday.


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