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Maori culture will be fully integrated into the NRL’s annual Indigenous Round for the first time when the Vodafone Warriors host the Sydney Roosters at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday (5.00pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Canterbury of New Zealand).

Until now the round has been dedicated to Australia’s indigenous people but this time the Vodafone Warriors will be honouring New Zealand’s indigenous culture in various ways throughout the coming week and on game day itself.

While other clubs will don strips with an Australian indigenous flavour, the Vodafone Warriors will play in a spectacular jersey depicting New Zealand’s Maori heritage.

The front of the jersey design is dominated by a toa (warrior), armed with a patu, a strong attacking and defensive weapon, as well as a tewhatewha, a long-handled weapon shaped like an axe.

Ferns in the design represent New Zealand while the mist is spirit (wairua); mist is a connector to New Zealand’s ancestors and to the earth mother and sky father. The back of the jersey features an image of Rangitoto Island, connecting it with Auckland.

The Vodafone Warriors have enlisted a cultural adviser to put together a programme to capture the essence of the day.

The pre-match entrances by the teams will differ from the norm. As the home team, the Vodafone Warriors will come out first on this occasion, greeted by a performance from a cultural group The Haka Experience.

A karanga (welcome chant) will welcome the visiting Sydney Roosters onto the Vodafone Warriors’ home ground followed by a brief ceremonial welcome. Before kick-off there’ll be an exchange of cultural gifts between representatives from both teams.



2.30pm | Gates open

2.45pm | Intrust Super Premiership | Vodafone Warriors v Western Suburbs Magpies

5.00pm | NRL | Vodafone Warriors v Sydney Roosters



Main features:

  • Race the LED competition at halftime. Buy anything from the Canterbury of New Zealand 2018 range and be in to win. Three competitors will be selected to race the LED in front of the East Stand. The fastest person wins a $500 CCC voucher and a 2018 Vodafone Warriors Indigenous jersey.
  • Back again is our regular Woodstock ‘Kick for Cash’ competition at halftime.
  • Performance by whakapaka group from InZone Education Foundation between ISP and NRL games (waiata and haka).
  • ACC Big Warm-Up and mini mod footy games in the build-up to the big game.
  • Coin toss involving the rival captains Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Boyd Cordner plus a lucky Vodafone Warriors member.
  • Keep your eyes out for Tiki, who’ll be putting on some moves throughout the evening.
  • The Canterbury of New Zealand T-Shirt Cannon will be in business again. Which player will be firing it?
  • Vodafone Stadium Live app is a great in-game tool. Download it.
  • Also play Grandstand Millionaire. Download Vodafone’s Stadium Live app to play. Your challenge is to guess the try-scorers in exact order in the Vodafone Warriors v Wests Tigers.
  • Free trains to and from Mount Smart Stadium for fans holding membership cards or pre-purchased tickets (remember to hold onto your ticket for the return trip after the game).
  • No cheerleaders.


  • Entertainment Precinct:
  • Make the most of the revamped Members’ Clubrooms. Great place to meet before the game and afterwards. Members-only venue including MC and post-match interviews.
  • The Woodstock Bar is also a big game day attraction. It’s open for every home game. All fans are welcome.
  • The food alley is a major game day attraction with an array of gourmet options in an area set off by an Astro-turf surface, fairy lights and places to hang out.
  • The merchandise van will be on hand again. Look out for a game day offer from the black range.
  • Drums of the Pacific will be performing at Gate B and Gate C before the match and from the stage in the Entertainment Precinct throughout the contest.
  • The Suzuki Swift Road Warrior will be on show. Make sure you register to go in the draw for your chance to win this great set of wheels at the end of the season.
  • Harvey Norman Community Warriors always has loads of activities on offer – bin pong, passing wall, ta moko face painting and Smile Dealers.
Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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