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Ola's guide to game day: Indigenous Round v Broncos

A celebration of Māori culture, an acknowledgement of a fallen Warrior, a one-off special jersey, a hot chip happy hour, a new name for the venue and the return of the club’s inaugural skipper are key features of Flava’s game day this Saturday as the Vodafone Warriors take on the Brisbane Broncos.

Round 11 sees a return across the NRL of the annual Indigenous Round with the Vodafone Warriors looking to honour the club’s Māori heritage on one of the biggest game days of the year.

The match takes place at the temporarily renamed Rarotonga Mt Smart Stadium – an acknowledgement of the venue’s traditional Maori name – with NRL kick-off at 7:30pm.

On the field, there’s plenty to keep footy fans entertained with four matches, including the Vodafone Warriors’ men’s and women’s touch teams, who square off against the Wests Tigers, while the club’s Canterbury Cup NSW side takes on the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles.

In between the footy action, there will be on-field cultural performances from Te Kura Kaupapa o Kaikohe, Hato Petera and Ngā Tūmanako, New Zealand’s reigning Te Matatini kapa haka champions.

For the Indigenous Round, the Vodafone Warriors will be led onto the field by one of the side’s Māori players as well as the club’s first captain, Dean Bell (Te Arawa/Ngati Pukenga).

The Broncos are scheduled to enter the field at the same time, led by an Indigenous Australian player who will be welcomed onto the Rarotonga turf following a haka pōwhiri.

Both players will then exchange cultural gifts to honour the occasion. For Saturday’s game, the Vodafone Warriors have commissioned a waka huia (Māori treasure box). The carved container holds precious tāonga, the significance of which in this case represents the club’s 25 seasons of Māori heritage.

The Vodafone Warriors players will mark the occasion by wearing a special one-off Indigenous Round jersey. The jersey pays respect to the tangata whenua with design elements that symbolise the New Zealand landscape, the North and South Islands as well as the mangopare (hammerhead shark) known for its warrior spirit.

Saturday’s game will be the first opportunity for the Vodafone Warriors to acknowledge the passing of Kiwi legend and former Vodafone Warrior Quentin Pongia, who passed away at 48 last Saturday.

The players will wear black armbands to honour him and his official club number (52) will adorn their jerseys while both teams will observe a minute’s silence. 

Off the field, there’ll also be plenty to see and do.

Fans arriving at the venue will be greeted by gate audios recorded in both Te Reo and English and read by Vodafone Warriors Peta Hiku (Ngāriki Kaiputahi) and Adam Blair (Ngā Puhi).

Those who arrive early will be given try signs translated into Te Reo.

The Chemist Warehouse Fun Zone, as always, is the place to be for the kids this Saturday. We’ve mixed it up a bit and, in addition to face painters and the passing wall, there’ll be Māori face painting stencils and a poi-making area.

Among the other exciting game day activities, the Mitre 10 Mini Golf course will once again be in full swing.

The unique course, which sees fans attempt to putt around plumbing equipment, through kitchen sinks and a range of other hardware obstacles, is free to all patrons. Balls and putters are provided.

The crew from Monster Energy will be back and looking to reward lucky punters with a free boost of energy. To be in to win, head to their area in the Entertainment Precinct and be prepared to try your luck at one of their two challenges.

On Saturday, if the home team scores during the Wendy's Power Play, then fans can score free Wendy's with any $5 purchase. To ensure you’re ready to roll and match fit, download the new Wendy’s NZ app so the coupon can be sent straight to your phone while you’re in the stands.

Fans who show up to Rarotonga Mt Smart Stadium early will have access to a “hot chips happy hour” special with Epicure catering outlets* offering up punnets of hot chips for just $2.50 each from gates open until 7pm.

Meanwhile, on the iHeartRadio Sound Stage, Flava’s finest DJ Manchoo will be lighting up the Entertainment Precinct with some great music from the moment fans flock to the venue.

Speaking of Flava, as this week’s match day sponsor they’ve been cooking up some interesting ideas to make it a game day to remember so make sure you’re in your seat at halftime to witness the hilarity of the Flava inflatable ball race.

And, as they have done throughout the season, the Vodafone Warriors’ official ride-share partner, Ola, has once again set up a special coupon that will give fans $20 off their first ride. To access the discount, fans should enter the code “WARRIORS”.

Get the app here

See you at our whare on game day.

*Please note the hot chip special applies only to Epicure catering outlets and not hot chips served by subcontractors

Gates open 2:30pm
Vodafone Warriors (Canterbury Cup) v Blacktown Workers 2:40pm
Vodafone Warriors women’s touch v Wests Tigers 5:30pm
Vodafone Warriors men’s touch v Wests Tigers 6:10pm


Travel on trains to see the Vodafone Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium is included with your game ticket or membership card. Services can be used from three hours before kick-off of the NRL match. For more info, CLICK HERE


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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