The All Blacks brand is synonymous with the bruising haka, the silver fern seen on players' jerseys in international television broadcasts and the brutal force of the "rolling maul", as even Grant Robertson labelled his Thursday Budget.
It's more powerful than Pure New Zealand, the emblematic brand that tourism operators and food producers capitalise on.
And it carries the hopes and aspirations of Kiwis when the team ventures onto the world stage — particularly for the Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby World Cup.
But the rugby code — like netball and other sports — has had its finances slammed by the Covid-19 epidemic.
Robertson will be putting his cherished Sports Minister's hat to the fore when he announces major financial assistance to prime codes like rugby and netball tomorrow.
The exact amount of that assistance is still under tight wraps.
When it comes to rugby, the Beehive will certainly stop well short of nationalising the national game.
But there is a strong case for substantial investment given the multi-millions this and other governments plough into the America's Cup.
Robertson may have to overcome the prudence that goes with his Finance Minister's hat. But he will want make sure there is enough cash to incentivise the major rugby franchises, which are heavily dependent on sponsorship and ticket fees, and it's a similar story with netball.
But there's another twist to the story.
When the Herald revealed that New Zealand Rugby had engaged in talks with a multibillion-dollar American investment firm about taking a stake in the struggling sport, it raised concerns at political level.
Let's face it: even Parliament fields its own team and travels far and wide — with remarkable synchronicity in World Cup years — to take on parliamentary teams elsewhere.
Any story suggesting that offshore "billionaires" or private equity firms might scoop up New Zealand's major team when revenues are being punched by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic was bound to raise eyebrows. And concern.
The Herald said private equity giant Silver Lake was the possible suitor, one which could possibly see the upside from adding New Zealand rugby to a sports portfolio that includes global cash machine the UFC.
The strategy was to form a club world championship — where Super Rugby franchises would become "clubs" — and the broadcasting and commercial revenue that would spin off that.
This poses a challenge to New Zealand's concept of just who "owns" our rugby teams and the current franchise model.
The sports-mad Robertson manages his diary well enough to attend major sporting events where New Zealand teams feature, such as the Rugby World Cup and the World Cricket Cup.
He also wears his heart on his sleeve, something that was evident on his Twitter feeds during those particular tournaments where New Zealand (in the end) lost.
Here's just one example of Robertson's fervour when he posted a photo of himself on Facebook (with Jacinda Ardern) celebrating the NZ netball team triumph at last year's Netball World Cup: "What a win! The Silver Ferns are World Champions! What a team. To have come back from the massive low of the Commonwealth Games to this in less than a year is amazing. Huge credit to Noeline Taurua and the whole team.
And to the likes of Casey Kopua who played her last game, what amazing servants to the game and our country. What a proud day for NZ!!!" The sporting codes did not feature directly in Thursday's Budget — although Robertson posted a slide indicating financial help was on the way for sports and the arts.
Even the media, which had expected direct assistance in the Budget, have now been told the package is some time away give the current complexities over the NZME v Stuff courtroom stoush.
The major codes have taken a financial pounding since the Covid-19 epidemic got under way.
Sport New Zealand has already announced a $25 million relief package geared towards community and regional sport. This includes a $15m community resilience fund, which is expected to help distressed clubs and associations meet fixed costs. Sports NZ has guaranteed that 2020's overall funding levels of $70m will continue into next year to support grass roots sport.
Rugby players are also taking a personal hit.
New Zealand Rugby has confirmed that around $25m, or 50 per cent, of the remaining forecast player spend is frozen.
The pay cuts apply predominantly to players contracted at Super Rugby level (including All Blacks), in the national sevens programme and Black Ferns — NZR is attempting to protect players on retainers of less than $50,000.
In the past they have had a personal safety valve, leveraging their own personal brands to play for clubs in the UK, France and Japan. The tide may now be turning, with the UK and France questioning the real value of marquee players.