The Allblack team making the Haka before a game.

Attend a Rugby Match of the All Blacks.

Book your New Zealand Holiday!

Please contact us and we will help you to organize your trip! It's free and without commitment.

Ask a question ...
  • Read the post
  • Details
  • Advices
7 Please vote!
Your questions (9)
Add to my trip

The Practical Guide of the Activity.

  • 1The All Blacks' Invincibility Secret?
  • 2What Are the Major Competitions of the Country?
  • 3What Is the Meaning of the Haka of the All Blacks?
  • 4The All Blacks and the Rugby Championship.
  • 5Is Super Rugby the Best Competition in the World?
  • 6The Rugby Championship.
  • 7How to Attend a Rugby Match?
  • 8Your Rugby Budget and The Online Booking.
  • 9What Is the Atmosphere in the Stadiums?

1The All Blacks' Invincibility Secret?

Rugby in New Zealand is more than a sport, it is a devouring passion that develops during childhood and occupies a large part of the New Zealanders' life.

New Zealanders take rugby very seriously ...

The public fascination for the All Blacks is far anterior to their last World Cup victory. Unbelievable, but true: the best team on the planet rugby was made up of amateur players until 1995, and it was under similar conditions that the Kiwis had won the world trophy in 1987.

The incredible success of the New Zealand team for almost a century is due to the number of licensees playing in more than 600 teams! With 150,000 players (4% of the population of the country), it is not surprising to see outstanding talents emerge.

To absorb such an astronomical amount of players (not counting weekend players like you and me), there are many levels of championships, perhaps difficult to decipher by the neophyte.

You must, however, assimilate the fundamentals if you dream of attending a rugby match during your stay in New Zealand.


New Zealand is a country of 4.5 million inhabitants, but has 150,000 registered players in rugby clubs. A staggering figure to which we must add the countless Sunday sportsmen. No doubt, New Zealand is indeed the country of rugby.

New Zealand's rugby clubs have 150,000 members.

In itself, the system is quite simple, but the Kiwis have the annoying habit of naming their competitions according to sponsors who change from year to year.

Under such conditions, nine out of ten guides (including on the Internet) are outdated and recommend competitions that no longer exist!

You need a serious guide about rugby in New Zealand.

This time, we won't speak of an activity (I will not teach you how to play rugby), but I will give you all the essential information to understand the importance of rugby in New Zealand and explain how to attend a match.


2What Are the Major Competitions of the Country?

Players who join the mythical Allblacks were great amateur championship then professional, before joining the Super Rugby. This explain why the level is so incredibly high.

The Allblacks represent the summit of a true pyramid.

It's no surprise if the All Blacks crush everything in their path... To have the honor to wear the famous black jersey with a silver fern, each player will have played countless matches and went through a ruthless selection to join the elite.

There are several championship divisions of which the highest level known as “Premier” is only an intermediate stage.

The players who play at this stage are likely to be selected in the provincial teams, and each province in the country holds a dozen professional teams!

The provincial teams compete in the great TIM professional championship (formerly ANZC). The best players of this competition are then selected to join the Super Rugby (or Super 18) teams, somehow the equivalent of the Champions League of Football in Europe.


Between championship matches, Super Rugby matches, Rugby championship and Allblacks test matches, there's enough to make an oversized ball overdose.

There are a multitude of championships and rugby tournaments.

And we do not stop there, since the best players of the Super Rugby can hope to join the mythical team of All Blacks and dispute the “Rugby Championship” against Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

We must, of course, add international test matches before the World Cup every four years.

What a program! With such a profusion of matches, being motivated is not enough to attend a competition. You can't just come and sit in a stadium to admire the show.

It is necessary to know which match to see, which team to support ... and to take the season in consideration, because the rugby men do not play all the year.


If you have to visit New Zealand, try to come during the months of February or March to enjoy rugby matches.

To attend a match, one must not come during the truce.

Competitions, teams, seasons, budget to attend a match ... we will review everything together. But to get to the heart of the subject, we will begin with a presentation of the Haka and everything else will follow quite naturally.


3What Is the Meaning of the Haka of the All Blacks?

Between the New Zealanders and rugby, it's an old love story! This sport is taught at school and every opportunity is good to get an oval ball for an improvised game.

The passion of rugby is taught to the children from the small school.

The Haka was originally a ritual dance practiced by the people of the South Pacific to celebrate festivities or support a declaration of war. Far from being uniform, interpretation is free and varies according to the prestige of each tribe.

The Haka was popularized by the All Blacks team who has been performing it before each international rugby match since 1905.

The folkloric aspect naturally enchants the travelers, but the ancestral tradition is very important in the eyes of the New Zealanders.

Historically, the Haka has helped ease tensions between the descendants of British settlers (nicknamed pahekas) and the Maori population.


The Haka was originally a tribal dance designed to intimidate the opponent before a battle or to celebrate an important event. The Allblacks took over this tradition at the beginning of the last century.

The first rugby team to have performed the Haka in 1905.

Watch several dozen young students performing a spectacular Haka in the courtyard of their university.

A spectacular haka between two rival schools in New Zealand.

A report from SKY Sport NZ

Symbols of the unity of the country, the Haka is taught at school and practiced by either academic and military. The All Blacks are in a way the standard bearer of this culture, now joined by the TallBlaks in basketball. As respected as the national anthem, the interpretation of the Haka is observed in silence in the stadiums.

Therefore, the Haka can't be reduced to choreographed dances before rugby competitions, and its meaning vary according to circumstances (wedding, festivities...).

From the etymological point of view the word "Haka" corresponds to the verb “to do” in Maori. But it has other names and meanings in the Pacific and the Tonga and Fiji Islands have their own interpretation of the Haka, also performed before the rugby matches.


The Haka is a Maori tribal dance that has proved its effectiveness on the battlefields of the past and on today's rugby fields.

The haka has been used for centuries to intimidate the opponent.

A perfect Haka performed by the players before an official All Blacks match.

The famous Haka of the Allblacks before a rugby match.

Filmed by AIG

If there are sometimes warrior words in the various Hakas of the country, the famous “Ka Mate” of the All Blacks is far from being the most aggressive. His purpose obviously aims to impress the opponent, but its original meaning largely unknown by the general public has nothing to do with the world of rugby.

The origin of the Haka is associated with a legend that tells the story of a warrior who would have interpreted a dance to thank a tribal chief for having hidden him from his enemies. If you visit the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, do not miss the very well-made documentary that revives the legend.


Here are the lyrics of the Haka, also known as the “Ka Mate”, usually interpreted by the All Blacks.

MAORI TRANSLATION ENGLISH TRANSLATION
Ringa Pakia
Uma Tiraha
Turi whatia
Hope whai ake
Waeuwae takahia kia kino
Ka mate ! Ka mate !
Ka ora ! Ka ora !
Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru
Nana nei i tiki mai
Whakawhiti te ra
A hupane ! A kaupane !
A hupane ! A kaupane !
Whiti te ra !
Hi !
Slap the hands against the thighs!
Puff out the chest.
Bend the knees!
Let the hip follow!
Stomp the feet as hard as you can!
I die, I die,
I live, I live,
This is the fierce, powerful man
Who caused the sun to shine again for me
Up the ladder, Up the ladder
Up to the top
The sun shines!
Rise!
Ha!

France has the reputation of being the only team really feared by the Allblacks who have more than once stumbled against a tricolor team that does not let itself be impressed by the Haka.

The Allblacks respect the French team

Depending on the importance of the issue, the All Blacks sometimes interpret the Kapa o Pango far more intimidating. It is indeed a question of terrorizing the adversary in order to deprive him of his vital strength and determination. And it works if one believes the statistics: who forgot the victory 145 to 17 against Japan during a World Cup?

Here is a must-have video to discover the legendary rugby players of the All Blacks team.

A report on the Haka with interviews of the Allblacks.

A report from the All Blacks

4The All Blacks and the Rugby Championship.

Opinions differ, but the Rugby Championship which gaher the national teams of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina is undoubtedly the best among the major international competitions.

The Rugby Championship is one of the best tournaments in the world.

The “Rugby Championship” is the former Tri-Nations tournament where New Zealand, Australia and South Africa were joined in 2011 by Argentina. It goes without saying that the level is exceptional even if Argentina is a kind of sparring-partner.

Each team faces the other three in a series of home and away matches. A victory is awarded four points to encourage offensive game (a draw match nevertheless yields two points). As if that were not enough, bonuses are distributed at the rate of one point for four tries in a single match or in a case of a large victory.

If the Rugby Championship is considered one of the best rugby competitions on the planet, the statistics are largely in favor of the All Blacks.


The New Zealanders won two thirds of the editions, delivering tough matches but with fair-play.

Auckland's Eden Park is the largest stadium in New Zealand and can welcome 60,000 spectators for major international Rugby or Cricket events.

Eden Park of Auckland is the largest stadium in New Zealand.

The prestigious events are usually held at Eden Park in front of 48,000 spectators, at the Westpac Stadium (34,500 seats) or the Forsyth Barr Stadium (30,800 seats). But the All Blacks tests match are often played in small provincial stadiums to maintain contact with the population.

If you have never watched a rugby match, here is an anthology match between the All Blacks and the Springboks.

An entire match of the Rugby Championship between the Allblacks and the Springboks.

A broadcast of Rugbygamesforu2

5Is Super Rugby the Best Competition in the World?

If you are lucky enough to attend a Super Rugby match you will not regret it because this competition is probably the best of the rugby planet.

The Super Rugby offers an exceptional level of play.

The former Super 15, now Super 18, is now officially called “Super Rugby”. This international competition between 18 New Zealand, Australian, South African and Argentinian franchises produce an exceptional level of play.

The Super Rugby is probably the best international rugby competition. Some people consider it to be even more exciting than a world cup that seems to replay the same matches every four years!

Do not miss this best of the most beautiful rugby matchs of the New Zealand championship.

A Super Rugby best-of with the best tests.

A report from the All Blacks
The incredible popularity of Super Rugby lies in the very offensive spirit of the competition, where speed is preferred to physical contact.

In this game, the Christchurch Crusaders have the highest number of trophies won (7), but the suspense remains whole each year. Played from February to August, the competition includes a first group stage which leads to knock-out meetings in three rounds.


The statistics speak for themselves and crown the Crusaders as the best team of the Super Ruby, a competition that the Christchurch players have won seven times.

The Crusaders are the undisputed kings of Super Rugby.

If you missed the highlights of the last super rugby season, it is not too late and this video will let you discover all the best parts.

The highlights of the Super Rugby season.

A report by LyesalotRUGBY

Each franchise represents the major provinces of a conference.

The conferences are composed of countries (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina).

And to play their matches, some New Zealand teams cover more than 100,000 km by plane each year!

A franchise (and this is the main interest of the system) constitutes its team with the best players available in the provinces at its disposal. Consequently, the level is incredibly high!


The Super Rugby is an international rugby competition, gathering the best teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Super Rugby operates with a conference system.

Here are probably the most beautiful rugby moments of the past season.

Spectacular match sequences from Super Rugby in New Zealand.

Directed by WoWMaster375

Teams from the same conference compete in round-trip matches. Then each team plays against five opponents of each of the other conferences. In total, there are 18 games per team, half of them being played at home.

The winners of the three conferences and the three teams with the most points (the offensive spirit is well-rewarded) are qualified for the playoffs until to the semi-finals and the long-awaited final.


If rugby is an offensive sport in New Zealand, this is the consequence of a rule giving a clear advantage to the teams that produce a spectacular rugby.

Offensive teams are favored by the rules.

Now that you know the rules, you still have to choose a team to support. A Kiwi team of course (we are on Kiwipal!). Make your choice in the list where I indicate the stadium and its capacity at the same time.


TEAM CITY STADIUM SEATS
Blues Auckland Eden Park 48000
Chiefs Hamilton Waikato Stadium 26000
Hurricanes Wellington Westpac Stadium 34500
Crusaders Christchurch Rugby League Park 18000
Highlanders Dunedin Forsyth Barr Stadium 30800

6The Rugby Championship.

The professional championship consists of fourteen teams spread over two levels. The best days of the championship will be retained for the super rugby.

The 14 teams of the championship are spread over two levels.

With 14 teams spread over two levels of seven teams, the professional league begins in the heart of winter (July) and ends in late spring (November).

It is the first level whose secondary stake is to provide players who will participate later to the Super Rugby.

The technical level is excellent even if I recommend preferring an international match of the Super Rugby or All Blacks if you only have to see one match during your stay in New Zealand.


The failure of this system (more and more criticized) is to allow very few promotions coming from the lower divisions.

The best players of the professional championship are slected in teams playing Super Rugby (formerly Super 15).

The best players in the championship play Super Rugby.

During your trip, the professional championship may still be named after its last sponsor (ITM or ANZ depending on the year).

Under these conditions, a good solution is to learn the name of the big teams if you don't want to feel lost.

At the risk of annoying some fans, I would say that Canterbury has the best team, followed closely by Auckland and Waikato.


Here are the lists of teams for each level with stadiums capacities:

Premiership

TEAM STADIUM CITY SEATS
Auckland Eden Park Auckland 50000
Tauranga Baypark Stadium Tauranga 20000
Bay of Plenty Rotorua Rotorua Stadium 34000
Canterbury AMI Stadium Christchurch 18000
Hawke's Bay McLean Park Napier 22000
Taranaki Yarrow Stadium New Plymouth 30000
Waikato Waikato Stadium Hamilton 36000
Wellington Westpac Stadium Wellington 40000

Championship - Second Level

TEAM STADIUM CITY SEATS
Counties Manukau EcoLight Stadium Pukekohe 12000
Manawatu FMG Stadium Palmerston North 15000
North Harbour North Harbour Stadium Albany 25000
Northland Toll Stadium Whangarei 18000
Otago Forsyth Barr Stadium Dunedin 30000
Southland Rugby Park Stadium Invercargill 20000
Tasman Trafalgar Park Nelson 18000

7How to Attend a Rugby Match?

If you hope to attend a rugby match during your stay, it is recommended to avoid the period of the truce that takes place each year between November and January.

The truce takes place every year between November and January.

Travelers staying a full year in New Zealand will be spoiled for choice if they want to attend a rugby match. But people exploring the country during the high season for few weeks may be deprived of a match during the truce!

The championships take place from March to November and the Super Rugby is played from February to August...

Alas, if you visit the country between November and January, there will be only a few opportunities, mostly international matches, with tickets that are difficult to book and often overpriced!

To avoid the truce, one should visit the country in October in spite of a very unstable weather (it is the beginning of spring) or in March if possible.

I therefore recommend the month of March (the beginning of the autumn) even if the budget of such a trip could be better spent during the high season.


The Westpac Stadium is home to Wellington's Hurricanes, one of the top teams in Super Rugby. The stadium also receives major international encounters when the Eden Park of Auckland is not available.

The Westpac Stadium of Wellington.

If you are lost, here is a table of rugby seasons in New Zealand to help you to plan your trip:

COMPETITION SEASON
Rugby Championship (All Blacks) From July to August
Super Rugby From February to August
Professional Championship (level 1 - 2) From July to November
Amateur Championship From March to July

Allblack players cultivate proximity with their supporters and grant autographs with a smile, either before or after the matches, regardless of the result.

The Allblacks cultivate proximity with the fans.

Of course,the All Blacks matches are the dream of every rugby fan. And to make this dream come true, it is necessary to study carefully the calendar of the matches and to book without waiting.

Even a seat at the top of a grandstand leaves an unforgettable memory.

I recommend not focusing solely on the All Blacks (which you can see playing in Europe in friendly matches anyway). A Super Rugby game, with a real stake, is much cheaper and sometimes even more spectacular. Which leads us naturally to speak about pricing and booking process.


8Your Rugby Budget and The Online Booking.

Small championship games cost between $ 10 and $ 20 ... it's cheap, but even the biggest games (of Super rugby for example) rarely exceed fifty dollars.

Apart from international matches, the places are affordable.

Exorbitant rates were to be feared, but rugby places are quite affordable in New Zealand. With the exception of the All Blacks' matches, you can almost always find tickets for important matches (including for the Super Rugby) even at the last minute.

Paradoxically, in this country that breathes for rugby, many fans prefer to watch the games at the pub or at home (we will talk about this later). A bargain for travelers who can buy tickets for a budget that is often ridiculous.

Be careful, the All Blacks are the exception that confirms the rule: even a minor test match will be fully booked (especially if the opponent is France) and tickets price can reach $400 at the black market!


Rugby is a very accessible sport in New Zealand, with places that are cheap and that can be purchased at the last minute. A notable exception is the Allblack games which are expensive and sold out.

Attending a rugby match is cheap in New Zealand.

Here is the average price per competition. They are even more affordable for children (half-price tickets) and there are also major discounts for families. I leave aside the issue of subscriptions which are certainly profitable, but hardly concern the tourists.


COMPETITION PRICE
All Blacks $50 to $250
Super Rugby $11 to $40
Professional Championship $11 to $31

I still have to show you the list of the official ticket offices, even if you can buy your seats the very same day (or several months in advance to be for the best places).

All Blacks and ITM Ticketing

Rugby stadiums are rarely crowded, but the Allblacks' matches are often sold out and the tickets can be find for several hundred dollars on the black market.

Places for the Allblacks are sold-out in a few minutes.

The All Blacks matches are announced exclusively on the official website of the national team. For other competitions, take your tickets at one of the three main online ticket websites:


Ticket Master (ITM)
Ticket Direct (ITM)
Ticketek (ITM)

Super Rugby Tickets

Each Super Rugby team runs its own ticketing on its own website, which does not facilitate reservations.

Each Super Rugby team runs its own ticket office.

Things get complicated because the ticket offices are actually managed independently by each team. You will find more information on the official websites, but to save you time, I have listed the links to all New Zealand franchises.


Auckland Blues Tickets
Hamilton Chiefs Tickets
Wellington Hurricanes Tickets
Christchurch Crusaders Tickets
Dunedin Highlanders Tickets

9What Is the Atmosphere in the Stadiums?

Haka is taught as early as kindergarten in New Zealand, and it is an integral part of the culture of the country. The Haka is not the exclusive domain of Rugby alone, but of all the sports teams, and even the fans also know how to execute it with brilliance.

The Haka is not reserved to the Allblacks!

The rugby in New Zealand remains a true religion. You can imagine the importance of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and the joy of the country after the final victory against a French team that many consider to be the strongest rival of an All Blacks team, deemed invincible otherwise. A title of double world champion has been added in 2015 after another great world cup!

And if rugby players are half-gods in New Zealand, getting an autograph of a player after a match or in the street is not an insurmountable feat. Proximity to the public is a sacred rule in New Zealand, and failing to respect this spirit could be enough to break a career.

Before the traditional Haka, you will hear the soundtrack of “Men in Black” or the classic “Paint it Black” from the Rolling Stones in the loudspeakers of the stadium.

The atmosphere before the matches is always positive, and even if one takes the competition seriously, the sense of humor prevails.

If the legendary Allblacks are not on the pitch, and if it is not a decisive match, the stadiums are rarely fully booked in New Zealand. Too bad for the atmosphere!

Stadiums are rarely full in New Zealand.

Stadiums are rarely full when the All Blacks do not play. A paradox in a country where rugby is revered.

The explanation lies in the excessive number of teams and the lack of stakes (with the exception of the Super Rugby) with rare promotions and relegation at the end of the competitions, although major reforms are regularly announced.


The Allblacks are more than rugby players in New Zealand, they are mostly the country's ambassadors abroad and each victory brings New Zealanders the recognition they lack.

The Allblacks matches are always fully booked.

To find a stadium that sings throughout the whole encounter, you must attend an All Blacks match. These players dressed in black are considered ambassadors with the burden of proving that a small country can win all over the world. The New Zealand fair play does not disappoint and the whole stadium often sings the national anthems of both teams without making any distinctions!


If you do not have seats to see a match in a stadium, you can consolate yourself and follow a meeting in a pub in front of one (or more) good cold beers.

The atmosphere in the pubs is sometimes better than in the stadiums.

But do not expect to find a crazy atmosphere in the stadiums during simple championship matches. In New Zealand, rugby is above all a family spectacle that most people enjoys at home or at the pub.

There is paradoxically less atmosphere in a New Zealand stadium than in a European stadium.

No matter if the mood sometimes leaves something to be desired: attending a game of rugby in New Zealand is an activity that will delight lovers of the oval ball. Those of you who are not real fans of this sport should still try to attend a match, if only to make their friends jealous.


If you are passionate by the oval ball, do not miss an opportunity to play on the beach or join an ongoing game.

Buy an oval balloon and have fun on the beach.

Do not forget to buy a rugby ball to have fun on the huge deserted beaches of the country.

It will be a memory more authentic than a Chinese-made souvenir labeled “maori”. And if you meet an All Black in the street, do not forget to send your selfie to the Kiwipal team!


William, Kiwipal
A Guide Written by William.
Founder of Kiwipal, New Zealand Travel Guide.
william

Questions & Answers.

What can I do for you? I will be delighted to share my knowledge with you, whether you want to attend an All Blacks match or learn to dance the legendary Haka!

Ask a question to Ben

  • All topics ... 9 answers in total
  • Haka Rugby and Culture 5 answers
  • All Blacks 2 answers
  • Super Rugby 2 answers

Haka Rugby and Culture

  • Is the Haka violent in his words and his gestures?

    Contrary to popular belief, the dancing performed by the Allblacks does not involve any physical threat. It is primarily a demonstration of collective physical strength aimed at impressing the opponent. There are, however, many variants, some openly aggressive, but rarely interpreted in rugby stadiums.

  • Can we learn the Haka?

    Of course, but try not to joke too much with this dance in New Zealand. Some Maori do not like people making jokes with a dance that retains a sacred character (tapu) and whose use has recently been restricted in commercials.

  • How to discover rugby culture outside matches?

    If you cannot attend a game because of the truce, be sure to visit the Dunedin Sports Museum located in the old train station. You will find all the history of the All Blacks and its heroes able to finish the matches without being discouraged by fractures!

  • Is the feench Rugby team respected?

    She is especially respected and many New Zealanders fear the French performances even more than those of the Australians or the English.

  • Can we watch a game if we do not know anything about rugby?

    Yes, because even if the atmosphere is not always at the rendezvous, it is an experience to live. On the other hand, if you do not like rugby in general, pass your turn!

All Blacks

  • Is it easy to get an autograph?

    Follow the crowd that awaits the champions before and after the game and you will have all your chances.

  • How much does a black market ticket cost?

    The price sometimes rises to $400 for a simple test-match, so I let you imagine the price for an official match ...

Super Rugby

  • What is the difference between Super 14, Super 15 and Super Rugby?

    The three terms refer to the same competition. The term "Super Rugby" is now official.

  • How do I view the Super Rugby ranking?

    Visit the official website of the competition:Super XV

Guillaume picture in the mountains

Ask Questions to William.

New Zealand Expert

To watch a match of the All Blacks in Europe is already great, but it is even better in New Zealand!

The price of seats remains affordable (rugby is a sport accessible in New Zealand), but it is necessary to visit the country at the right time!

Competitions, ticketing and presentation of the teams, I have covered everything and I hope that this guide will help you fullfill your dream!

william Ask me a question

Useful Links

More information about the subject before leaving.

Useful Phones

Click on a number to call from your mobile.

Guillaume picture in the mountains

Book Your Trip

Book your New Zealand Holidays without travel agency.

You save up to 30% on your holiday budget by removing the travel agencies fees.

Contact an expert

Join Kiwipal!

Subscribe to the group of New Zealand travelers.

Expert certifié de la destination

Any Question?

Seek advice from experts in New Zealand:

Send your question
Invalid email or message is too short!
Message sent !
A Kiwipal guide will answer to you as soon as possible. Thanks!
Top of the page
Your favorite articles
You can build a list of your favorite articles.
Click on the “add to favorites” button on the page of your choice. Your list will be saved even if you leave the site.
OK