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Travel in Australia and New Zealand

All Black - New Zealand national rugby union team

The New Zealand national rugby union team, more commonly referred to as the All Blacks,[2] is the representative side of New Zealand in rugby union. Rugby is the country's national sport[3]. New Zealand have a winning record against every international rugby team, including the British and Irish Lions and the World XV. Since 1996, New Zealand have competed annually with Australia (the Wallabies) and South Africa (the Springboks) in the Tri-Nations Series, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with Australia. New Zealand have been Tri-Nations champions nine times in the tournament's 13-year history, they have three times completed a Grand Slam (in 1985, 2005 and in 2008) of the four (British) Home Nations, and they currently hold the Bledisloe Cup. According to the official IRB World Rankings, New Zealand are the number one ranked team in the world.[4] New Zealand were also named the 2006 International Rugby Board (IRB) Team of the Year.[5] Fourteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame, one into the IRB Hall of Fame.

The team first competed internationally in 1884 against Cumberland County, New South Wales, and played their first Test match in 1903, a victory against Australia. This was followed by a tour of the northern hemisphere in 1905, during which the only loss was to Wales in Cardiff.

New Zealand completed their first series win over arch-rivals the Springboks in New Zealand in 1956. A decade later, they achieved their longest winning streak by winning 17 Tests between 1965 and 1970. The British and Irish Lions achieved their only series victory over New Zealand in 1971, but seven years later New Zealand completed their first Grand Slam - wins over England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales on the same tour.

The 1981 Springbok Tour to New Zealand caused large-scale civil unrest due to protests over South Africa's apartheid policy. In 1987 New Zealand hosted and won the inaugural Rugby World Cup. New Zealand toured post-apartheid South Africa in 1996, and achieved their first series win on South African soil.

Early New Zealand national rugby uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By their 1905 tour New Zealand were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, and their All Black name dates from this time. New Zealand traditionally perform a haka (Māori posture dance) before each match. Traditionally, the haka performed is Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate, though since 2005, Kapa o Pango, a modified version of the 1924 All Blacks haka, Kia Whaka-ngawari, has occasionally been performed.

The All Blacks, the international rugby union team of New Zealand, perform a haka (Māori traditional dance) immediately prior to international matches. The Haka is also performed by some other New Zealand national teams, such as the Kiwis (rugby league) and the Tall Blacks (men's basketball).[1][2] Over the years they have most commonly performed the haka "Ka Mate". In the early decades of international rugby, they sometimes performed other haka,[3] some of which were composed for specific tours. Since 2005 they have occasionally performed a new haka, "Kapa o Pango."

"Ka Mate"
The Ka Mate haka arose as a wily plan to defeat the aims of an enemy. Inspired by this, the All Blacks are believed to have first used the "Ka Mate" or "Te Rauparaha" haka in 1906. The origin of this haka dates to 1810 when chief Te Rauparaha of the Ngāti Toa iwi clan or tribe was being chased by enemies. In a cunning stratagem, he hid in a food-storage pit under the skirt of a woman. Because this was an unthinkable thing for a chief to do, Te Rauparaha thought he would be safe. He climbed out to find someone standing over him, who, instead of killing Te Rauparaha, turned out to be another chief friendly to Te Rauparaha. In relief Te Rauparaha performed a haka with the words translated from Māori;

Am i going to die? Am i going to die? Or will i live? or will i live? this hairy man standing above me, will they help me see the light of day once more? Step, step, step, step [out of the hole the chief was hiding in] I have seen the sun again. .

These words are still used today. Te Rauparaha's escape from death is commemorated in the haka, which can be interpreted as a celebration of life over death.

From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org
Image, Helenalex - Shows All Black haka before a match against France.

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