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Best Foods organises 100-person unique haka in support of Vodafone Warriors 

As a major sponsor of the Vodafone Warriors who continue to fight the 2020 NRL season stranded in Australia, we wanted to show the boys some support. We organised an epic mass haka which brought 100 Warriors fans together at Mount Smart Stadium to send a tribute of support to the Warriors team as they remain stuck in Australia due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus.  

Due to effects of COVID-19, the NRL 2020 season was postponed to 28 May with all games to be played in Australia for the foreseeable future. In working with COVID-19 restrictions, NRL teams have been playing in stadiums without spectators and in some cases without home-games – meaning The Warriors have returned to action away from Mount Smart and their army of supporters.

To highlight that their fans are there in spirit, if not in person, we arranged a 100-strong haka at Mount Smart Stadium to wish the team luck for the rest of the season.

To make the haka even more special and ensure it was executed with respect and mana, we worked with Tāpeta Wehi, leader of Tāmaki Makaura-based kapa haka group Te Wehi Haka, who created a bespoke performance that charts the trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic – outlining how the unity of New Zealand helped overcome the pandemic, and paying respect to the Warriors for their sacrifice to play in Australia.

As an important part of Māori culture steeped in honour and tradition, it was essential that the haka was executed with respect and mana.  It was led by Te Wehi kapa haka group, and supported by local performers and Iwi, resulting in a meaningful and impactful display of support from more than 1,500 miles away. 

Check it out below! 

COVID-19 

While the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in New Zealand is now low, it was essential that we kept health and safety top of mind to help prevent future spread.

We also adhered to the following guidelines:

1. We held a pre-production briefing allowing our team to communicate and engage with all on-site workers, around how to safely carry out        work in a COVID-19 environment 

2. The plan and work protocols considered the possibility that a site or location where filming is to take place may become unsafe.  Before 
     any activity commenced, all hazards were reviewed to ensure filming could commence safely

3. Although there are no physical distancing requirements at Alert Level 1, we recommended all those attending keep a safe distance from
     people you don’t know when appropriate

4. Hand sanitiser stations were set up around the venue as well as a first-aid kit on site in case of emergency

5. We encouraged that all persons entering and exiting Mount Smart Stadium registered to assist contact tracing in the case of COVID-19
     infection

6. We asked all attendees to sign a health declaration outlining that they haven’t been abroad for 14 days and that they were not feeling
     unwell

7. Commons areas within Mount Smart Stadium that were used for the purposes of this shoot, such as bathrooms, were cleaned and
    disinfected before and after use

8. Catering for the event was individually prepared and packaged, removing the need for communal eating or sharing of common utensils
     such as cutlery

9. Prior to arrival, we advised that any persons who may arrive at Mount Smart Stadium that exhibited cold or flu-like symptoms such as
     fever, coughing or congestion must:
     -        Not come 
     -        Stay at home and self-isolate
     -        Get rested for COVID-19 as directed by Ministry of Health

10. Prior to arrival, we advised that any persons arriving at Mount Smart Stadium who had been identified as having potentially been
       exposed to the virus must follow Ministry of Health advice and would not be allowed to enter the workplace

These guidelines enabled us to safely organise 100 Kiwis to come together and perform an impressive and powerful mass haka at Mount Smart Stadium. 

JPEG - Best Foods x Warriors Haka Campaign Banner