7 Jul 2015

Fans thrilled as All Blacks arrive in Samoa

9:34 am on 7 July 2015

The All Blacks are finally on Samoan turf, ready to play in an historic first Test match between the two nations.

Pacific Institute of Performing Arts students Troy, Mils and Tavai (from left) prepare to welcome the All Blacks with a combined New Zealand/Samoan haka.

Pacific Institute of Performing Arts students Troy, Mils and Tavai (from left) prepare to welcome the All Blacks with a combined New Zealand/Samoan haka. Photo: RNZ / Sharon Lundy

The World Champions touched down at Samoa's international airport last night to a deafening roar from the thousands of fans as they walked through the arrivals gate.

Among those waiting was New Zealand-born Samoa Troy Tu'ua, who couldn't believe his luck to be part of the PIPA All Stars group from Auckland's Pacific Institute of Performing Arts.

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The group has been brought to Samoa especially to perform a combined New Zealand/Samoan haka for the occasion.

"It's so good. To be brought back to our Motherland and to come and do a haka on behalf of Aotearoa, it's like a dream come true," Mr Tu'ua said.

"To be welcoming the All Blacks, champions of the world, is an honour. Such a privilege."

All Blacks captain Ritchie McCaw led his team into the arrivals hall but they were whisked away before they got the chance to meet any of the thousands of fans, a heavy police presence ensuring their smooth passage to their waiting buses.

Tourism Authority of Samoa Tau said the huge turnout showed how much support there was for the game in Samoa.

All Blacks arrive in Samoa amid tight security.

All Blacks arrive in Samoa amid tight security. Photo: RNZ / Sharon Lundy

"We're looking forward to welcoming the All Blacks in our land for a change. Remember, more than 10 of our boys have played for the team, the All Blacks, and we love to share that," he said.

"All walks of life, young and old, big and tiny, big and skinny ones ...They all coming for that occasion, because they can't wait."

Tau said Samoa had many religions but sport was the one thing which brought everyone together.

He said accommodation in the city was booked up, and families were even taking people into their homes.

"I'm 62 now. It's the biggest event that has happened here in Paradise. Ever."

Whangarei man Leo Sloane will miss the historic event by only two days, having been on holiday is Samoa for the past nine days.

The closest he came to it was a glimpse of the All Blacks as they arrived last night - as he and his family were waiting to fly out.

"Very poor timing on my wife's behalf. She does know that," Mr Sloane said.

But Reverend Paolo Mulipola won't be missing out - he said he would be in the stands to watch the game and, while he hoped hoping the Manu Samoa won, he would be happy whatever the outcome.

"We also support the All Blacks, because there are also Samoan boys playing in New Zealand," he said.

"So the game we are looking for ... We want a tough game, not rough.

"We are grateful that the All Blacks are here. It is a very good thing for us and we are so happy about it."

The game kicks off at 2pm New Zealand time tomorrow.

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