Tasman Mako stand-in captain Mitch Hunt was presented with the Key to the City of Nelson by Mayor Reese in a Civic Ceremony on the church steps in Nelson on Wednesday 30 October.

Introduced in 2013, and designed and handmade by renowned jeweller Benjamin Black, the key symbolises Nelson city. Previous recipients include Para-Olympian Liam Malone, Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and former All Black Richie McCaw.

Te Tau Ihu – Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman - came together to celebrate the historic victory of the Mako in the Mitre 10 Premiership, and their contribution to our community, with the parade through the centre of Nelson.

Starting from the Tasman Rugby Union, the team made its way along Upper Trafalgar Street with their Premiership Winners’ Cup before a haka pōwhiri ‘Toia mai’ by Nelson Boys College and Te Roopu Whakamanamana, the Victory School Kapa Haka Group, welcomed them at the church steps on Selwyn Place.

The formal ceremony then took place, opening with karakia and mihi timatanga (opening prayer and acknowledgements) given from kaumātua and a supporting waiata by Te Roopu Whakamanamana. 

This was followed by speeches from Mayors Rachel Reese and Tim King, Marlborough Councillor Mark Peters, Tony Lewis and Wayne Young from Tasman Rugby Union and Hon Nick Smith and the Key to the City of Nelson presentation.

A haka performed by Nelson College students and karakia from kaumātua officially closed the ceremony.

“It is an honour for our region to come together to celebrate this fantastic effort by everyone involved with the Tasman Mako, marking the end of the perfect season for the team,” says Mayor Reese. 

“The Mitre 10 Premiership is the pinnacle of domestic rugby in New Zealand, and to have our team bring home the Cup is really exciting and something we can all feel proud about. The team’s contribution to our community has been exemplary.”