The All Blacks have shown earthquake-stricken Christchurch the way ahead with their courageous Rugby World Cup victory, says Mayor Bob Parker.
Thousands of Christchurch people robbed of the opportunity to see the tournament played in their hometown are expected to turn out this afternoon for a victory parade for the world champion All Blacks.
The parade will wind its way to the city's RWC fan zone in Hagley Park, where Mr Parker will welcome the team, and All Black captain Richie McCaw and coach Graham Henry will speak to the fans about 4pm.
Mr Parker told the Herald the All Blacks had faced up to a French team in the final that "disrupted every element of their play".
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"And what got them through was a display of real courage, real commitment. And the lesson for us, I think, is that's what we know we need [in Christchurch] as well."
With buildings and facilities wrecked by the quakes, there was a sense of Christchurch being detached from the rest of the country when the city's World Cup matches had to be shifted to other centres.
"It was feeling like a separate nation in a way."
But since then the All Blacks had developed a special bond with Christchurch by going to great lengths to make the city feel included, Mr Parker said.
"I remember Graham Henry saying to me on the morning that the All Blacks left ... how much what had happened in Christchurch was serving to give them extra strength, extra motivation," Mr Parker said.
"When Richie held that cup aloft, we knew we were in his heart."