Lions - one year to go

More than 20,000 visitors are expected to follow The British & Irish Lions tour around New Zealand and the message to those planning the trip is "come for the rugby and experience it all".  The series spans nearly six weeks, taking in seven regions from Whangarei to Dunedin.

Host regions have already begun preparing for the influx of visitors with additional infrastructure, plans for fan zones, fan trails and other match-related experiences for fans - as well as a variety of other local events and celebrations to coincide with the rugby action.

'One year to go' until The Lions  tour of  New Zealand was marked on 3 June  with a cultural ceremony involving the presentation of a carved taiaha - a traditional Maori staff used in challenge – presented to each of the mayors and representatives of the seven host regions.

The precious taiaha were hand-carved at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua and blessed before being presented to the mayors and representatives.

The special Lions Series taiaha will spearhead promotion in each host region during the 12-month build up to the series, before being awarded to winners of each match played in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

A Lions tour only happens every 12 years and is a highlight on the global rugby calendar as well as a firm favourite with rugby-mad Kiwis.  

Tourism New Zealand marked the one year to go milestone with the global release of a video – An epic rugby experience, based on a version released by NZ Rugby.