West Ham United have touched down in New Zealand ahead of the Club's nine-day Football United Tour.
The Hammers squad completed their 31-hour, 11,400-mile journey from London to Auckland via stops in Dubai and Sydney on Saturday afternoon. On their arrival at the team hotel, the group received a pōwhiri - traditional Māori ceremony of welcome that began with a wero - challenge - from Haka International that was followed by dancing and singing. Following the pōwhiri, the Hammers received a welcome from Nikki Kaye - MP for Auckland Central and a Cabinet Minister in the New Zealand Government.
Following a press conference attended by Sam Allardyce, New Zealand All Whites captain Winston Reid, Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll, the day of acclimatisation continued with a walk around central Auckland, which ended with the players marvelling at daredevils bungee jumping off the top of the Sky Tower - New Zealand's tallest building.
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Big Sam has brought a strong 24-man party to the other side of the world, Reid, Carroll, Nolan, Hammer of the Year Mark Noble and summer signings Cheikhou Kouyate, Mauro Zarate, Aaron Cresswell and Diego Poyet.
Joint-Chairman David Gold has also made the trip and was an interested observer at the press conference. He will join thousands of Hammers fans from across the globe at fixtures with Wellington Phoenix in Auckland on 23 July and Sydney FC in Wellington three days later.
The Football United Tour is one of the biggest soccer events ever held in New Zealand, marking the first time in 29 years that an English top-flight team has visited the country. With fellow Barclays Premier League club Newcastle United also involved, four matches will be held at venues across North and South Island, capturing the imagination of supporters from across the region and beyond.
West Ham will kick-off the tour with an Open Training session at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday morning, with fans invited to come along to watch the players in action. Further Open Training sessions will be held at North Harbour on Monday, Eden Park on Tuesday and at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday.
Aside from the football, the squad will be taking part in a full programme of community, fan engagement and corporate events in both cities. Among them, the Hammers will be welcoming youngsters from Reid's old primary school to train with them, visiting the UK High Commission and meeting a variety of supporters' and other local groups.
In their down time, the players are also expected to scale New Zealand's highest building - Auckland's Sky Tower - and visit the Weta Workshop, where the award-winning special effects for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films were created.
Football United Tour
Wellington Phoenix v West Ham United
Wednesday 23 July 2014, 7.30pm (local time)
Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Sydney FC v West Ham United
Saturday 26 July 2014, 2pm (local time)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand