The four teams who will compete in ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup matches in Whangarei have been welcomed to the city.

A powhiri was held at Terenga Paraoa marae on Porowini Ave yesterday for the teams from Afghanistan, Ireland, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

After a cultural briefing from kaumatua Dick Shepherd to the teams, the challenge was laid down before the teams were called on to the marae.

Inside, kaumatua Taipari Munro and Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai welcomed the players, officials and supporters to Whangarei. Ms Mai then presented the captains of each team with a taonga - a hand carved purerehua.


The ancient wind instruments were traditionally used by Maori as a method of communication in both the physical and spiritual worlds. Its gifting symbolises a long lasting connection between New Zealand and the teams' respective countries.

Whangarei is hosting six matches, starting today and running through until January 20.

All games are being played at Cobham Oval. Today's game is between Pakistan and Afghanistan, while Sri Lanka and Ireland face off tomorrow.

Cobham Oval is the home ground of former NZ Under-19 and current Black Caps fast bowler Tim Southee.

Southee competed at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in India and was named player of the tournament, taking 17 wickets at an average of just 6.64.

Sixteen teams are on NZ shore to contest the Under-19 World Cup, with the final to be played on February 3. Other games are being played in Christchurch, Tauranga and Queenstown.