Rotorua's Fijian community is full of excitement ahead of the arrival of the Flying Fijians and National Under 20 Men's teams today.
Rotorua Fijian Association secretary Talei Kolibasoga told the Rotorua Daily Post New Zealand Rugby and the Rotorua Lakes Council had brought home to their doorstep, by securing Saturday's Māori All Blacks matches at the Rotorua International Stadium.
"We are super chuffed. More importantly, we feel blessed that the Lakes Council has roped our community in to be involved in the preparations and catering for our rugby teams... We couldn't get closer to home than that."
She said locals were preparing to welcome friends and family coming from the north and south to watch the match.
"We will absolutely be having our homes bursting at the seams... It's going to be crazy."
She said the excitement superseded their homesickness.
"To our Fijian communities out there in the greater New Zealand districts - come one, come all!"
She said a recent grant from the Ministry of Education to help children learn about Fijian culture was "ever so timely" and would be put to use this week.
"To get our children engaged in learning our song and dance and to get them to be able to engage in a dialogue in Fijian, we aim to showcase this at the Ahurei Pasifika midday carnival on Saturday before the evening games."
Bula Takeaways co-owner Mukesh Reddy is going to the game with his wife Ashmi and daughter Katie, 12.
He was born in Fiji and has followed rugby ever since.
"The whole Fijian community is uplifted by the visit."
He said this weekend would be the first time his family had watched a Fijian sports team play in New Zealand.
"We are hoping they will win. They won in the game in Fiji on the weekend, so my fingers are crossed."
Bula Takeaways, a shop the specialised in Fijian-Indian cuisine, was gutted by fire in April after opening in February.
The Reddys plan to reopen the shop in October, and are working elsewhere in the meantime.
The Fijian Under-20s team will be staying at Tangatarua Marae at the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Mokoia Campus.
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union personal development manager, Ati Aaifou-Olive, played a key role in getting the Fiji Under-20s squad to Rotorua, but he said Toi Ohomai's help with accommodation, transport and connecting the Rotorua Fijian community to the team was critical.
"The game would not have happened without their support".
Toi Ohomai has 300 tickets to give away to supporters who email email@example.com, on the condition they wear black to the game.
To purchase tickets, go to the Ticketek website.
For more information on the Ahurei Pasifika events go to the Rotorua Events Facebook page.
Rotorua international rugby matches, July 20
New Zealand Māori U20 v Fiji U20
New Zealand Māori v Fiji
Rotorua International Stadium