Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Magical Evening

Passion and Purpose are a great combination and I can report that a recent rugby fundraiser was a resounding success thanks to a good dose of both. For the 250 NZ & NY hearts who came to the event at 375 Hudson Street, New York, thanks for your generosity of sharing and friendship. The event was initiated by Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and supported by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and Saatchi & Saatchi, and was part of New Zealand’s 2011 Rugby World Cup international build-up which is happening around the world.

The rugby movement is growing in America. This year 200,000 young people have played rugby for the first time for a season. With the help of the $23,000 raised by the event, two rugby players from New York City public schools, where rugby has been introduced, will be coming to New Zealand to study, play rugby, and get immersed in the great New Zealand culture. The sum will also be used to fund coach/player exchanges between the US and New Zealand.

AUT Chancellor and former New Zealand Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves led the powhiri, (a formal welcoming ceremony), gave an intense Maori oration which had New York jaws dropping because of its fluency and purpose, and then welcomed everyone with a joke about when he last lived in Chelsea. He is a singularly impressive New Zealander.

Between NZ wine, beer and food there were auctions, speeches and a panel I led with New Zealand greats Michael Jones, Frano Botica, and Tawera Nikau, USA Rugby development champion Mark Griffin and sports marketer supremo Andrew Gould from NYC & Company. Rugby players have a natural, exuberant humor and a gift for storytelling, and the panel and the audience rocked together with laughter.

I was then surprised when Sir Paul on behalf of AUT made me the amazing honor of awarding me a mere, which is a flat stone weapon used by Maori warriors. Made from pounamu, New Zealand jade, the mere is a symbol of chieftainship. Topping this off, Maori present further honored me with a Haka, the iconic battle dance practiced by the All Blacks, capable (as those who face it have frequently discovered) of winning a rugby game before kick off.

Thanks very much to all involved.

PS here is a great video of the event filmed by Lynette Chiang, an original Lovemarks believer who came from Bike Friday and Saatchi & Saatchi back when. The video is 4+ minutes and worth every second. The Haka had been performed on Good Morning America by Tawera, Michael and Frano with guest Denzel Washington who was on the show talking about this latest film. http://www.galfromdownunder.com/about/

Video from galfromdownunder.com


a.d. said...

Hi Kevin. I'm not sure if there's a Kiwi word equivalent to 'australophile' but if there is, it describes my wife and I. We're hoping to move from country Victoria to the Hokitika on the west coast next year. I love the country, its values and (of course) its beauty. So this article was bound to catch my attention. I think it's hilarious to see such solid guys trying to look natural in a business shirt and tie.

However, it's the ubiquity of the GalFromDownunder that causes me to put fingers to keyboard. It's hard to go wrong with her - I got to know her a way back when she wrote critically on FastCompany about aspects of our REMO General Store communications strategy. REMO's a long-time lovemark, and not by accident. I took Lynette to task for her reasoning and, to her eternal credit, she listened and asked to know more ... and then wrote an elegant retraction. Since then I've known her to achieve more in a week than the average person does in a year. But ... I guess you know this from the past, right?

I'm a solo web guy so I can't afford a customer evangelist of my own. But I wish I could give the pint-sized dynamo a job, 'cos I think she's the aces. Failing that, I'm unashamedly doing a bit of evangelism of my own. The girl needs a job. She could do incredible stuff for you. So offer her a position, already!

After all, you're one of the few guys in a position to utilise her strange and wonderful skill set. I figure you can't go wrong.

Thanks for tolerating my rare moment of evangelism. I shall now return to my webguy box.


Adam Dennis

Anonymous said...

The video really brings it home, even narrated by a Kiwi's worst enemy, an Aussie (just kidding). Never seen a Haka before - almost as terrifying as the thought of going up against those guys without padding. Nicely edited clip, btw! Thanks for helping introduce the sport to us Yanks (but I'll try it under a helmet).

Anonymous said...

Great job on this Rugby piece by this galfromdownunder. Looked at her site. What a talent. Do you employ her still?

Jim N said...

Hah! Great video. I was on a date once and the girl, from New Zealand, started doing the Haka dance. Scared me!

www.chuckcraytor.co said...

I enjoyed the video. Rugby definitely has more character and depth than American football.

Chuck Craytor

Galfromdownunder said...


Thank you so much for including my cheery little clip in your post! I shared it with some my friends and told them to go leave an appreciative comment.

I actually interviewed Sarah at a cafe when she popped by to pick up a copy of my raw footage. Here it is:


As you can see, she presents terrifically camera - articulate, engaging, informative and makes NZ and Rugby sound like a really appealing combo.

She said love to do more work for you in this vein and I'm sure you agree - she's a huge asset.

Looking forward to your next event!


Bikewriter said...

Nice job, Lynette. I always looked forward to your Bike Friday videos. Good to know your style translates into expositions of...well, just about anything. If Saatchi needs a communicator who can plan, shoot and distribute at Internet speed, I've only got one thing to say: they hired you once...

pskilbeck said...

Ah, the world's most interesting rugby team. Good choice. And great video coverage. That haka makes my hair stand on end every time!

Grant Whitehouse said...

Hi Kevin,
What a great honour to receive a Mere and Haka...it doesn't get much better than that. I had goosebumps watching he Haka. Well deserved.