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First-year head coach Andrew Webster wanted to ensure his side understood the significance of February 6 here, in Aotearoa.

And drive home to his side that it is “far more than a holiday”.

Club cultural ambassador and former Warrior, Wairangi Koopu, was approached by the coaching staff to come and speak to the group, and give a brief history on what this nation’s founding document is all about.

“The club and Webby approached me and wanted someone to come and, just brief the boys on the significance of Waitangi – and a chance for them to reflect on why this day is so important to not just Māori, but all New Zealanders,” he said.

“I think it went well. The boys seemed to really buy-in… and not just our Australian brothers here but a lot of boys grow up in New Zealand don’t necessarily have a firm grasp of what Waitangi is about - and the history of it all.

“If they got just a little bit out of today, then I believe it was a success.

“And even though, a lot of debate remains around the Treaty, it is still something that we recognise as the binding document between two parties in creating the society we live in today.”

Addressing his side after the brief history lesson, Webster reinforced the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of New Zealand culture for anyone who pulls on a Warriors jersey.

“I hope you really soaked that in boys, it’s really important – and we will do more of these throughout the year – to understand what it means to be here and be a representation of our culture,” he said.

“So thanks Wairangi for taking and coming in here. I know I certainly did, and I hope the boys talk something out of that.”

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, as a constitutional document that establishes and guides the relationship between the Crown and Māori.

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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