The 2011 Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks marked the end of their time together with an emotional haka on the steps of Parliament yesterday.
The team that drank from the Webb Ellis Cup at Eden Park on Sunday night disbanded yesterday after a private dinner at a Wellington rugby club last night.
Earlier in the day thousands braved strong winds and rain to pack the streets of central Wellington and Parliament grounds to congratulate the world champions.
Police and volunteers struggled to clear a path through the crowds as fans surged forward as All Blacks passed on towed trailers.
Captain Richie McCaw and Brad Thorn almost had the Webb Ellis Cup torn from them as they held it out to the outstretched hands below.
People climbed trees, phone boxes and balcony overhangs for vantage, and office workers cheered from windows and building roofs.
Confetti rained down and streamers hung from above Lambton Quay, and Piri Weepu and teammates danced to the drums of band Batucada.
Signs on display included "Nek minnut ABs bring it home", "Dan you can have my groin", roughly 50 "Richie marry me" proposals and the succinct "Tops off".
McCaw told the crowd at Parliament that the last three days had been unforgettable.
"On behalf of the team, it's been a hell of a six weeks and we can say we're world champions now for four years, so we're going to enjoy it."
Prime Minister John Key told the team they had played for New Zealanders after "a pretty tough 12 months".
"What we absolutely needed at the end of 2011 was you boys to bring home the Cup ... we're so proud of you."
After the speeches the All Blacks responded to a "haka" chant by the crowd with a performance of Ka Mate that brought the loudest cheer of the day.
Flanker Jerome Kaino said it was sad the team's time together had drawn to a close.
"But you just look at the 87 team, they're still living with their accomplishment, and I'll carry this for the rest of my life."
No 8 Kieran Read said to play in and win a World Cup on New Zealand soil had been an experience hard to describe.
"It was the best time of my life, outside of getting married and having a baby."
Read said the mania around the team had been something new, even to an All Black.
"Now you can just enjoy it and wave back, and I suppose without those nervous butterflies when you're going to the game."
Assistant coach Wayne Smith, who is stepping down from the All Blacks, said the 2011 World Cup team would always share a bond.
Smith said the All Blacks had done mental work around how to ensure the huge public support didn't become a burden.
But he added: "I don't think any of us quite understood the extent of the support and the extent of the euphoria."
He likened the support during the tournament to a tsunami - one that could either drown the team or carry them forward.
"We just tried to ride that wave as best we could. And we went with it."