NRL Fans Support NZ Warriors With Bespoke Haka Via Pead And Best Foods

Photograph by Babiche Martens.

Creative communications agency Pead has executed a high-profile stunt to strengthen the sponsorship association between the Vodafone Warriors and Best Foods.

The agency brought together 100 Vodafone Warriors fans at Mount Smart Stadium to perform a bespoke haka for the Vodafone Warriors, who are stranded in Australia due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – highlighting that their fans are there in spirit, if not in person.

The stunt was staged as a content shoot by Pead, with the agency responsible for the full end-to-end marketing delivery including creative ideation, content production, digital, social media and media relations.

Pead worked with Tāpeta Wehi, CEO of Tāmaki Makaurau kapa haka group The Haka Experience, to create a bespoke performance that charts the trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic. It conveys how New Zealanders united to overcome the pandemic, as well as paying respect to the Vodafone Warriors for the sacrifice they have made by moving to play in Australia.

Pead is responsible for negotiating and managing the sponsorship between the Vodafone Warriors and the Unilever-owned Best Foods, with a fully integrated twelve-month amplification plan.

Pead director of integrated strategy Kelly Grindle said:  “Managing a sponsorship between one of New Zealand’s favourite FMCG products and one of our most prominent sporting teams has allowed the agency to really flex our creative muscle – spanning everything from activations to digital campaigns to retail integration.”

Pead developed an original amplification plan for the sponsorship that revolved around fan engagement and stadium activations at Mount Smart.

However, the impact of COVID-19 has forced the agency to quickly pivot and recut their strategy.  It implemented ‘Come (Digitally) Dine with Me’, a socially-led competition giving Vodafone Warriors fans the opportunity to have lunch with their favourite players via Zoom; a digital content comedy series bringing together Vodafone Warriors players and comedians from NZ Comedy Festival; and an integrated retail partnership leveraging the Vodafone Warriors identity across supermarket partners.

Grindle added: “The impact of COVID-19 has certainly been challenging – but every challenge comes with an opportunity, and that’s what led to the creative for this latest content-led PR stunt.  The reaction to this story has been phenomenal with significant coverage across both traditional and social media, and headlines generated across the ditch in Australia to boot.”

Best Foods’s Matt Rigby added: “We want to promote national support for our team playing in Australia. Our goal is to stand with the Vodafone Warriors and let them know the team of five-million back home are behind them 150 per cent – if we can’t be there in person, we will be there in spirit.”

The haka performed by the 100 participants reads as follows:

Maranga mai e te iwi e

Tukitukia, werowerohia te mate urutā

Rere ana te mataku, rere ana te wehiwehi

Ka mate ka mate, ka ora ka ora

Tu mai nga tama toa, 

Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui e

Ahakoa he tawhiti te whanau, 

Kore kore rawa e tu mokemoke

He matenga poto, he oranga roa

Tu mai nga tama toa, Kia kaha, kia toa

Kia kotahi tatou

Ka mate, ka mate ka ora, ka ora


Aotearoa it’s time to rise up!

We are being tested by this pandemic

The unknown causing apprehension and fear

Will we perish? No, we will live

Rise up the Warriors

Be strong, be determined and be brave

Although you are far from your families

You have never been alone

A short sacrifice for long term benefit

Rise up Warriors, be strong, be brave

We are in this together

Will we perish?  No, we will live, we will live.

Despite moving to level one under New Zealand’s Covid-19 alert system, the haka was produced under strict health and safety regulations. All participants were required to sign a health disclaimer, sign in for contact tracing, regularly wash hands and practise social distancing.

The full list of production participants and employees is included below:

Client: Unilever International, Best Foods

Agency & Production: Pead

Director: Dan Martin

Pead Creative:  Duncan Killick

Pead:  Kelly Grindle, Fiona Hanlon, Lauren Atkins

Best Foods:  Matt Rigby, Monica Reyes, Shirri Lim

Talent / Maori Consultation:  Tapeta Wehi, The Haka Experience

DOP: Clayton Carpinter

1st AC: Graham MacFarlane

2nd Cam: Olly Harris

Gaffer: Paul Eversden

Drone: Echo Valley – Joe McAlpine & Simon Murtagh

Sound Recordist: Wendy Adams

Special Effects: FilmFX – Victor Beksinski

Editor: Rachel Goldsworthy

Colourist & Online: David McLaren

Music Composition: Arli Liberman

Sound Design: Mike Bloemendal

Creative Talent Agency: Dusty Road, Bruce Everett

Photographer: Babiche Martens


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