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25 dancing German firemen's Auckland flashmob

Thursday 6 Dec 2012 12:21 a.m.

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Twenty-five dancing German fire fighters took part in an impromptu performance in Auckland this afternoon.

The Bavarian Schaffler dancers have been delighting the world with their tradition for decades, but when they arrived in New Zealand without a venue to perform in, Nightline helped them organise a flashmob.

But when the mob comes out in full costume to check out the venue first, it's probably a sign of a failed attempt.

Either way passers by seemed to enjoy themselves, and after the show we figured out what the problem was – none of the fire fighters had heard of a flashmob.

The Schaffler dance was started in the 16th century by coopers or barrel makers in Munich who wanted to celebrate the end of the plague.

Fire fighters from the village of Arbing just east of Munich picked up the tradition in 1902, and have been performing it every seven years to keep the plague away.

Arbing has a population of no more than 200, which means a good chunk of the village is currently in New Zealand. And that it has a disproportionately large fire service.

“When we go back home, then we have to do our job but we not so much to do because we are a small village,” fire fighter Hoelzlwimmer Rudi says.

The Schaffler dancers have taken their performance all over the world. Earlier this year they performed for the pope's 85th birthday.

But they say they've never done a show like this.

At least New Zealand should now be plague free for the next seven years.

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