While it was a low-key welcome for the British & Irish Lions, one local was thrilled to get autographs from the players as they arrived in Rotorua.
The squad's privately chartered Air New Zealand plane touched down at Rotorua Airport just before 2pm today, with captain Sam Warburton leading the team off the plane.
Rotorua's Frank Grapl was one of just a handful of fans there to greet the team, a huge change from the crowds who were waiting when the Lions last came to Rotorua in 2005.
"I had a hunch they were arriving today and I thought I should get down here. We need to support the Lions as well and show them some hospitality...I'm completely disappointed at the turn out."
Mr Grapl said if he had known there would be no pohiri to welcome the Lions he would have organised his kapa haka group Whakaari to put one on.
Kawerau resident Nicole O'Brien said it was good to see the team arrive at the airport, however she was surprised at the few people there to greet them.
"I was dropping off my mum, who is off to Wellington, at the airport and saw the buses."
When asked who she hoped would win the match on Saturday she said the Maori All Blacks.
"My dad is part-Irish but I'm a Kiwi girl. I wish [the Lions] all the best."
The Lions will take on a strong Maori All Blacks side at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday night in front of a capacity crowd, with Rotorua's Stella Maris singing the New Zealand national anthem before kick off.
Meanwhile, as the Lions were preparing to leave Dunedin this morning following their 23-22 loss to the Highlanders, the Tima Tangata Maori Rugby exhibition was opened at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.
The exhibition takes a look into the history and influence Maori have had on New Zealand's national game.
Mayor Steve Chadwick said she thought it was fantastic.
"It's a very high impact and beautiful exhibition and this is only the second time it's been displayed. It's been tucked away for a few years and they've updated it and brought it here, with the help of local sponsorship."
Mrs Chadwick encouraged everyone to go and see it.
"It's a panorama of stories and our legends and I'm really proud to have it in Rotorua. In fact, I've laid down the challenge that it should stay here - it's a natural home for it. Some of the greats of Maori rugby come from here."