Photos: All Blacks Auckland Victory Parade As It Happened

It's hard to estimate that crowd that's turned out at Victoria Park but it runs into the tens of thousands.

Coach Steve Hansen was humbled by the turn-out.

"It's an honour and a privilege just to be part of the All Blacks but to be able to put a smile on so many faces is an even greater honour.

"So for all of us we'd like to thank you for the support you've given us and we hope we've made you proud."

Richie McCaw said seeing everyone there made it all worthwhile.

"It's just great the boys could do the job and put a smile on our faces."

"We can smile for the next four years and say we're World Champions and that's pretty cool."

As it happened...

1:45pm: The team have now left the stage and thousands of fans are leaving Victoria Park.

1:40pm: A young fan from Ruatoria who made a fan video for Nehe Milner-Skudder has been brought to Auckland to meet the team and his idol.

Kuratiwaka Ngarimu's video- in which he says Milner-Skudder is the man - was viewed over 150,000 times on Facebook before the Rugby World Cup final.

He brought a cake made by his mum with him on to the stage.

Young Kuratiwaka was flown up to Auckland with his mum and will spend time with the team this afternoon.

Keven Mealamu, Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Aaron Smith and Dane Coles have taken questions from fans.

Mealamu said the final was the hardest game they played. "We wanted to leave everything out there," he said.

Aaron Smith said the toughest moment was when the cup was finished.

"When we sat there ... and looked at the legends who were leaving," he said.

The support was what Nonu would miss the most about being an All Black. "Playing in NZ, playing at home in front of friends and family - I've loved every minute of being an All Black."

Carter said he would really miss the fans. "You guys are amazing."

Conrad Smith said it was time for the "young fellas" to take over.

"This is a dream come true, really ... and it's better than you can ever imagine."
Coles thanked fans for the support during the tour.

1:30pm: Don't drop the cup!

Richie McCaw almost lost the cup at today's victory celebration at Victoria Park in Auckland - the top of the cup, that is.

McCaw was making his way down a barricaded pathway, meeting with fans, as the top of the cup fell to the ground. The drop drew gasps and groans from the crowd who saw it on the big screens near the stage.

But the skipper, taking his leadership seriously, picked up the top of the cup and put it back in its rightful position and carried on with meeting elated fans.

 McCaw told the crowd: "Seeing you all here has made it all worthwhile."

He continued: "There's no better feeling than being able to hold that cup up again. We had heard this country was going pretty nuts on Sunday morning."

He extended his thanks to everyone for supporting the team over the four years from 2011.

Coach Steve Hansen said it was an honour and a privilege to be invoked with the All Blacks, "but, to be able to put a smile on the faces of so many people is even more of a privilege".

Hansen said the only time he was nervous about the game was when Ben Smith was yellow-carded.

"He was thinking of what island he was going to go to if they got up over us."

McCaw said Hansen brought the team down to earth after the 2011 win.

"That set the tone right from the word go ... He's got great support staff ... As players you get everything you need in terms of being helped out and you can go out and play well."

1:15pm: Mayor Len Brown acknowledged the "outstanding performance" by the team and McCaw.

"Captain courageous, greatest skipper, wonderful rugby player, let's put our hands together for Richie McCaw," he said.

"It's just not been the cup, the last four years they have lost only three games out of 53 tests ... that's a brilliant performance."

"[Richie]'s held, and maybe no one will ever do this again, the world cup twice in a row."

He also announced McCaw would be granted the Freedom of the City, but joked he would "still have to pay your rates if you've got property here".

Mr Brown also wanted to acknowledge the five players who are expected to retire now the Rugby World Cup was over.

He praised their "fabulous performance", and also thanked coach Steve Hansen and the support staff.

1:10pm: The students - giving it their all - have finished up with the Ka Mate haka, to cheers from the crowd.

Sol3 Mio have taken the stage to sing their rendition of Ed Sheeran's I See Fire.

Sol3 Mio turned to face the All Blacks - who were clapping along in time - to deliver the last chorus.

A loud cheer signalled the end of the song, which was the All Blacks' official Rugby World Cup song.

1:05pm: Shelley Brockelsby and daughter Paige arrived in Auckland yesterday after being in England for the final match.

They have their tickets to the historic match in their hands and they are hopeful they will get them signed by players.

"It was an amazing game. We didn't go over with tickets to the final, we had tickets to the quarter final and we were watching some sites deciding what to do," Mrs Brockelsby said.

In the end, the family decided to buy four of the best tickets available.

"It was incredible, just an amazing vibe," Paige said.

"After the game they did a parade around the stadium, and you could really sense their pride."

Mrs Brockelsby said: "We couldn't get close to them at all at Twickenham. So we are hopeful we will today."

The Webb Ellis Cup is taking pride of place on a raised black platform on the stage.

Sonny Bill Williams carried his daughter on stage.

A rousing haka is being performed by school students to welcome the victorious team.

A huge roar went up as the All Blacks - led by captain Richie McCaw - brought the Webb Ellis Cup on to the stage, to the song Men in Black.

The team are high-fiving young supporters as they stride on stage and take their seats.

A number of players stopped to thank those who took part in a traditional powhiri - with Ma'a Nonu and Liam Messam stopping to give them a hongi.

The team is still making its way towards the stage and have been meeting fans for the past 45 minutes.

The All Blacks are now enjoying their first victory parade at Victoria Park in Auckland City.

Many of the team were sporting sunglasses and Julian Savea was happy to admit his croaky voice was the result of "still celebrating hard."

The media were given only a small window to speak with players before being blocked off

M'a Nonu arrives at the victory parade with a big smile on his face. Photo / Jason Oxenham

M'a Nonu arrives at the victory parade with a big smile on his face. Photo / Jason Oxenham

as they continued down a long line of fans - many of whom were screaming their favourite players names.

Sonny Bill Williams stopped at many fans to sign autographs or take photos as well as even holding the odd baby.

He told the Herald he was happy to be home: "I saw my lovely wife and daughter as soon as I got in - that was the first thing I had to do."

Keven Mealamu said: "It's good to be home and see everyone here. Really happy to be home."

Captain Richie McCaw was a big favourite - with several fans chanting: "Richie, Richie, Richie!"

The crowd is getting bigger.

More and more fans are arriving at Victoria Park.

More and more fans are arriving at Victoria Park.

If you are still trying to make your way to the parade here is the latest traffic update.

The men in black have now arrived at Victoria Park.


12pm: Members of Ngati Paoa and Ngati Whatua will welcome the All Blacks with a powhiri - including a wero and karanga.

Hundreds of fans are lined up waiting for their favorite team.

The scene outside Victoria Park.
The scene outside Victoria Park.

Large school groups have come to Victoria Park for the event, including Waikowhai Primary School.

Craig Hall works in an office right beside Victoria Park and said it was an easy decision to head along with his two children Pearl, 8, and Ethan, 10.

Craig Hall with his two children Pearl, 8, and Ethan, 10, are excited to see the All Blacks.
Craig Hall with his two children Pearl, 8, and Ethan, 10, are excited to see the All Blacks.

"We want to welcome the All Blacks, they've been following the World Cup and watching all the games," he said.

Mr Hall went to England to watch the quarter-final and semifinal matches the All Blacks played in. He watched the final at home with his family.

"It's been awesome," he said.

Pearl said she liked all the All Blacks and Ethan's favourite player was Kieran Read.

Kiwi hip hop diva Ladi6 is now on stage as part of entertainment scheduled at Victoria Park this afternoon.

Hundreds of people are now lined up against security gates inside the park, ready to welcome the team.

Majority of people - both young and old - are wearing the main colour of the day: black.

A number of youngsters are armed with celebratory signs congratulating the boys while some have the national flag wrapped around their shoulders.

Weather-wise, it looks like the sun gods have finally come out to play, with the sun now shining brightly in Auckland City.

One of the many families waiting to see the team arrive is Katrina Tanner and her two sons Elijah, 10, and Liam, 3.

Katrina Tanner and her two sons Liam, 3, and Elijah, 10, are waiting to catch a glimpse of the All Blacks.
Katrina Tanner and her two sons Liam, 3, and Elijah, 10, are waiting to catch a glimpse of the All Blacks.

"To me there wasn't a choice, it's sporting history in the making," Mrs Tanner said.

"You can't help but get swept up in the euphoria of it."

Her sons had loved supporting the team throughout the Rugby World Cup.

"They were glued to the TV, waking up early to watch all the games."

Mrs Tanner said she decided to take Elijah out of school because he hadn't had many absences throughout the year.

"I told his teacher straight that this is why he wouldn't be at school ... She was a little surprised I think, but okay about it."

Dan Carter is the favourite player of both the boys, and they were hopeful he would stop for an autograph.

"I'd say, 'Great drop kick you did in the final'," Elijah said.

University students Jaimee Gibbons and Trixie-Lee Grey, both 18, are among the legions of fans who have turned out to see the All Blacks.

The two friends were also at the airport to see the men in black early this morning.

Trixie-Lee Grey (left) and Jaimee Gibbons, both 18, at the Auckland victory parade for the All Blacks. Photo / Moana Tapaleao
Trixie-Lee Grey (left) and Jaimee Gibbons, both 18, at the Auckland victory parade for the All Blacks. Photo / Moana Tapaleao

"That meant a 4 o'clock start for us," Jaimie said.

"But we don't care, we just want to see them and show we're proud."

Both have exams tomorrow, but have decided to put last-minute studying aside.

"It's gonna be the last time we see some of them and it's emotional," Trixie-Lee said.

"The atmosphere at the airport was so special - people were singing the national anthem and Maori songs. I got teary. We couldn't miss the parade."

Aaron Smith scrubs up before the parade.

11am: The All Blacks aren't due to arrive in Victoria Park for about another hour and a half but thousands of Aucklanders have already arrived in Victoria Park, keen to be a part of the action.

There's currently a break in the rain but many people are in the park with raincoats and umbrellas at the ready. A big stage has been set up, with two large screens either side.

Gates separate a path that will bring the All Blacks from Halsey St into the park. Fans have lined up against the gates, keen to try receive some autographs or photos with the players.

Trucks and buses passing over the park on the motorway flyover have been tooting their horns as they pass.

McCaw posts on his new Facebook account ahead of the parade.

Thanks to the team at Air New Zealand for getting the important luggage home! She was a long flight but it's great to be back on home soil. See you guys at Victoria Park.

Posted by Richie McCaw on Tuesday, November 3, 2015


10.45am: Nothing could dampen the buzz around the All Blacks' victory parade today, except for Auckland's weather.

Heavy rainfall this morning would be clearing, but will be followed by showers this afternoon, MetService meteorologist Claire Flynn said.

At 11.45am fans will make their way to Victoria Park where a huge crowd is expected to gather for a celebration.

Musicians Ladi6 and Sol3 Mio will be entertaining crowds from 11am.

There will be a period of clear weather, Ms Flynn said, but whether it will coincide with the event is yet to be known.

"The worst of the rain should be moving on in the next couple of hours," Ms Flynn said.

"But, there are some showers behind that front. Around [12pm] there could be a clearance."

Blustery southwesterlies are expected to build throughout the day, making the weather seem a lot colder than it is.

"Take a raincoat if you're going to the parade," Ms Flynn said.

People intending on going to Victoria Park for the event are encouraged to take buses, cycle or walk.

10:30am: The All Blacks are getting ready for the parade after arriving at their Auckland hotel.

Earlier today huge roars of excitement and applause rang through Auckland Airport as the winning All Blacks walked into the arrivals lounge to thousands of adoring fans.

Richie McCaw shows off the Webb Ellis Cup at the airport. Photo / Greg Bowker
Richie McCaw shows off the Webb Ellis Cup at the airport. Photo / Greg Bowker

Dan Carter speaks to media. Photo / Doug Sherring
Dan Carter speaks to media. Photo / Doug Sherring

Sonny Bill Williams arrives at Auckland International Airport. Photo / Greg Bowker
Sonny Bill Williams arrives at Auckland International Airport. Photo / Greg Bowker

Ma'a Nonu talks to fans. Photo / Greg Bowker
Ma'a Nonu talks to fans. Photo / Greg Bowker


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