As nervous fans waited with bated breath the tall figure of Joseph Parker got off the plane and walked into the small Whanganui Airport terminal to silence.
He spread his arms wide and mentioned the cold weather outside before people started coming up to shake his hand and ask for photos.
While taking photos with fans, Parker was smothered by four-year-old fan Brylie who wanted a hug from the champion boxer.
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Special guest flying into Whanganui on Air Chathams
It's the first time Parker has been to Whanganui.
"I don't go out a lot. I don't travel too much. But when I do travel I see the amazing support and love that we get. It's just great to give back," he said.
"Great to come and see them and actually meet them. Meet those who support us from afar when we're fighting overseas or Auckland."
Parker was given a quick explainer in flying by Air Chathams general manager, Duane Emeny, who was the pilot.
"My flight was good. I sat up in the front and the pilots Duane and Andrew showed me how things were controlled up there.
"It was an enjoyable flight ... little bumps towards the end but it was good."
Parker will first head to Putiki Marae for a powhiri where there would also be representatives from the Samoan community.
He will visit Whanganui High School and later in the week spend a couple of days in the bush learning about hunting.
"I love fishing so the only other thing missing is the hunting. So I'm looking forward to actually getting out there doing some hunting, camping out where we are going and actually learning."
The Whanganui visit hit national headlines when it was first announced with the High School visit originally advertised as a "closed motivational session for Māori and Pasifika boys" and their dads causing outrage.
But it was never Parker or his team's intention and the school later confirmed it would be open to all students.
Parker said that if he could inspire some of Whanganui's kids, he'd be happy.
"I'm looking forward to actually meeting all the students and just giving back because I know there's a lot of support for myself and my team.
"If I could say something that could inspire or motivates one of the kids then I'll be happy."
Parker said he and his team were happy to let local business owner, Chris Kumeroa, and Hayden Potaka from Te Mana Atatu take care of the plan for the Whanganui trip.