27 May 2005

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New Zealand rugby fans are being urged to black-out their towns and stadia in the face of the hordes of red-shirted Barmy Army fans expected to invade our shores for the DHL New Zealand Lions Series.

With the British & Irish Lions due to arrive in New Zealand in less than 24 hours, Telecom today unveiled a key element in its national campaign encouraging New Zealanders to Unite for Victory and secure the home ground advantage for teams playing against the Lions.

The “Telecom Bunker” is a giant interactive tent which will serve as the main distribution point for almost a quarter of a million black Unite for Victory ponchos Telecom has produced for fans to wear at each of the matches. These will be given out free to New Zealand supporters to help counter the likely sea of red from the Barmy Army as the “Telecom Bunker” tours the country.

In addition to being kitted out in ponchos and handed give-aways, fans will see pre-recorded team talks from All Blacks coach Graham Henry and former All Blacks greats Grant Fox, Ian Jones and Frank Bunce.

People will be on hand to paint the faces of New Zealand fans either in their provincial colours, or in black and white for the New Zealand Maori and All Blacks matches. New Zealand fans will also be able to have their photos taken with the latest Telecom mobile phones and have them posted on the website as a souvenir of this historic tour.

Telecom Head of Sponsorship Peter Parussini said the Unite for Victory campaign was a natural extension of Telecom’s almost 15 years of support of rugby in New Zealand. As well as sponsoring the All Blacks, Telecom is involved with each of New Zealand’s Rebel Sports Super 12 franchises, with Air New Zealand NPC teams, club rugby and the AXA International Sevens tournament in Wellington.

“The Lions have openly stated that they’re coming here to take on the entire country and we want to let the Lions know that New Zealanders will take up the challenge every time they run onto the field.

“The Barmy Army will be loud, colourful and funny. We’re hoping to help New Zealanders not only be hospitable to our guests but also show them that we’ll unite for victory.”

All Blacks coach Graham Henry said fans shouldn’t underestimate the part their efforts can play in helping New Zealand teams to victory.

“Fans can help the players on the field with their colourful presence and with the noise they make. We must ensure we keep the home ground advantage. These factors can make a difference.

“That’s why we’re calling on New Zealanders to rally to the cause and with the generous support of Telecom go to the front line all in black,” he said.

Fans wanting more information about the Unite for Victory campaign and details of locations for the Telecom Bunker should visit

A Unite for Victory advertising campaign promoting the black-out message and “taking the mickey” out of the Barmy Army is also screening on TV.

For further information:
Brett Jackson
Sponsorship Advisor
Corporate Affairs
Mobile: 027 488 7808

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