Xzibit and Ne-Yo welcomed with pōwhiri ahead of inaugural Juicy Fest

Rappers Ne-Yo, Pretty Ricky and Xzibit have been honoured with a pōwhiri after flying into New Zealand for this week's Juicy Fest events.

In a video posted by Juicy Fest on its social media accounts on Wednesday morning, the rappers were shown standing in front of the Māori welcoming ceremony, which was performed by kapa haka group KaiHaka at Auckland airport.

It comes one day after 'Hot in Herre' rapper Nelly also was pictured having been welcomed into Aotearoa.

"We bring a lot of love and respect from Los Angeles, we really wanna enjoy New Zealand so thank you," rapper Xzibit said after the welcome.

Ne-Yo responded by singing his 2006 song 'So Sick' back to the group.

Ja Rule posted a video of his welcome into the country on social media on Tuesday, saying: "Thank you for the warm welcome New Zealand - Love y'all."

Singer Mya, who will also perform at Juicy Fest, was pictured being welcomed into the country on New Year's Day.

The new five-date festival, which promises to bring the "best of the '90s and early 2000s to Aotearoa New Zealand", is scheduled to take place in Auckland, Napier, Tauranga, Palmerston North and Whangārei in January.

Among the acts taking part are hip-hop and R&B legends Nelly and Ne-Yo.

Juicy Fest was the subject of wild online speculation, with many internet users expressing concern it was a scam. In August of 2022, festival organisers acknowledged the rumours and addressed them directly with a statement on the official website saying: "We want to assure all of our current and future ticket holders that all artists included on our line-up have confirmed their attendance on all tour dates, with us.

"We want you all to know that Juicy Fest 2023 is going ahead - and our Juicy Fest team is an experienced and capable one," the statement continued.

"Juicy Fest 2023 may be new but those behind it are far from new to the scene - and we can't wait for everyone to enjoy the fruits of our labour next year and beyond."

The first Juicy Fest concert is set to take place in Napier on Thursday, January 5 - one day after a festival north of Auckland was set to happen before being cancelled due to weather.

Summer Haze Matakana was scheduled for Wednesday, but concert organisers on Tuesday night announced their decision to cancel the show.

There is a heavy rain warning in place for Northland from Wednesday, as well as a heavy rain watch for Auckland and other areas in the North Island.

Napier is expecting showers on Thursday.