Historic birthplace of New Zealand to officially welcome the Lions

The ceremony will take place at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

BY Simon Maguire 21:50 Sunday 23 April 2017, 21:50 23 Apr 2017

Lions Captain Brian O'Driscoll accepts the challenge at the official powhiri for the British & Irish Lions in Rotorua. Image: ©INPHO/Michael Bradley

The British and Irish Lions will be officially welcomed to New Zealand at the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands in the north of the country.

The event will be open to the public where the squad will receive a traditional welcome into the famous Whare Runanga (meeting house).

Speaking at the announcement of the ceremony, Gregg McManus, CEO of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, said: "It will be an honour to have the British & Irish Lions at the birthplace of the nation and it is fitting the team has accepted the invitation to be welcomed onto Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

"There could be no more appropriate place to welcome the team and their supporters to our shores as they embark on their six-week tour of New Zealand."

Captain Brian O'Driscoll signs autographs for fans in 2005. Image: ©INPHO/Hannah Johnston

In accepting the invitation, British & Irish Lions Tour Manager, John Spencer said: "The welcome at Waitangi will be a moving experience for all our team and one that I know they are looking forward to. 

"Being culturally prepared for our tour of New Zealand is important to us and something we intend to embrace by sharing some of our team’s cultures, whether it be in English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish."

The Lions play their first match of the tour on June 3rd against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians.  

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