New All Blacks Experience attraction opens in Auckland

If you're a rugby fan who has been yelling at your television in response to the recent run of poor performances by the All Blacks, now's your chance to step up and prove you can do better.

The All Blacks Experience opens its doors at SkyCity in Auckland on Tuesday night, after seven years of planning and more than a year under construction.

The fully guided, state-of-the-art, interactive showcase celebrates all of New Zealand's national rugby teams.

Fans can also purchase personalised jersey's from the largest All Blacks retail store in the country, located on-site.

Tourism minister Stuart Nash says the exhibition has the full support of the government, which gave it  $2,280,500 in funding.

New All Blacks Experience attraction opens in Auckland
Photo credit: All Blacks Experience

"The lack of international visitors has been hard on Auckland's economy. The tourism and hospitality industries are now looking for new ways to attract domestic visitors to our largest city. 

"Visitors will encounter a test match haka on a four-metre high screen. The full sensory experience even includes the smell of liniment, the atmosphere of a changing room, and the noise and ambience experienced moments before walking out onto the pitch," Nash said.

All Blacks Experience Board Chair Dame Julie Christie said the new premium attraction is the ideal way for rugby fans, and Kiwis, in general, to finish off what has been a tough year both on and off the rugby field.

"This is a huge milestone and after a challenging year for everyone, we are really proud to be able to launch this amazing experience for all – whether you're a long-time rugby fan, new to the game, or just wanting to do something new and exciting," Christie said.

New All Blacks Experience attraction opens in Auckland
Photo credit: All Blacks Experience

The exhibition is a collaboration between New Zealand Rugby and Ngāi Tahu Tourism.

"Over the last two days we have had former All Blacks, Black Ferns, and representatives from all grades of rugby visit the All Blacks Experience. Judging by their reactions, the attraction is going to bring a lot of joy to both fans and those who are new to our national game."

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai said the All Blacks Experience opening is an important milestone for iwi, which has a proud tradition of whānau being selected for the All Blacks, Māori All Blacks and Black Ferns.

"The mana of that special jersey is recognised throughout the world, and it is certainly felt strongly by anyone walking through the All Blacks Experience, just as I experienced today," she said. 

"We know the pride New Zealanders feel for the All Blacks, Māori All Blacks, and Black Ferns will draw them to this experience and in time we will look forward to welcoming fans from around the world to get a true sense of what it feels like to run out onto that pitch as a member of one of the world's most famous sporting teams."

Tickets are $50 for adults, $30 for children, and a family package for two adults and two children can be purchased for $130, with additional children's tickets available for $20 each.