Pop superstar Ed Sheeran has been welcomed to his first sell out NZ concert by a rousing powhiri.
Auckland-based Māori kapa haka group kaiHaka greeted Sheeran at Mt Smart Stadium this afternoon ahead of his 47,000 fan capacity show tonight.
It was Sheeran's first powhiri and the star said he wished he had experienced the welcome for his previous New Zealand shows.
The Maori welcome was at his request after he realised he'd never experienced one before.
The ever-casual Sheeran arrived at the powhiri wearing jeans, skate shoes and a long-sleeved tee of his favoured "Hoax" brand.
The singer has worn clothing from the independent Suffolk based surf and skate brand throughout the tour.
The company director said there was a boost in international sales whenever Sheeran appears overseas.
At the powhiri Sheeran presented a signed album to the group with a smile and said: "Here's this, I don't know if you want it or not."
As the rain poured down outside Sheeran said he refused to let the bad weather dampen spirits tonight, saying "it sounds weird but some of the best shows are when it's raining".
"I did one in Sydney two years ago and it was torrential rain and it was one of my favourite gigs.
When congratulated on his recent engagement to childhood sweatheart Cherry Seaborn, he smiled but said she was working and wasn't able to come on tour with him.
He said he would still tour when married but future children would "slow that down".
"My touring relationship will change when I have children that need to go to school. I'll still keep touring but it won't be 200 gigs a year, maybe 50.
"Cherry is working, she has a day job."
Sheeran said he was looking forward to his Dunedin leg of the tour and was impressed by the mural painted by local artist Tyler Kennedy Stent for $8350.
"I think he has done a great job. If it makes people happy it's great."
Sheeran said he was not offended by comments made by presenter Hayley Holt that she "was not a fan" of the singers.
"Not everyone loves my music, I don't begrudge her that. I actually respect she has an opinion."
It was too wet to have the powhiri outside so it was held indoors, creating an intimate setting.
The 25-strong group representing different iwi said a prayer before Sheeran arrived.
They posed for photos with the star after the formal welcome and were delighted at his willingness to "pukana" with them.
Sheeran also wasn't shy and was happy to hongi.
kaiHaka leader Eruera Rarere-Wilton presented Sheeran with a Purerehua - a blade like traditional wind instrument which is swung in a circle and creates a hum.
Sheeran delighted the crowd by giving it a go and on his second attempt made it buzz.
Rarere-Wilton said kaiHaka took pride in welcoming esteemed guests to Auckland as the group is made up of descendants from the tribes of this area.
"We welcome visitors in the ways of our tupuna with Haka Powhiri to give an unforgettable experience that guests take with them when they return home," he said.
Sheeran, who is in Auckland to perform three consecutive sold-out shows, beginning tonight, at Mt Smart Stadium - popped into Eden Park yesterday, meeting both the New Zealand and England teams in their respective dressing rooms during a rain break.
People have been lining up since early this morning, with 40 fans already queuing about 9.45am.