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Thrills and spills for West Ham United in New Zealand

Sam Allardyce outside Weta Workshop
West Ham United have just returned from a week-long Football United Tour in New Zealand. Whilst their on the pitch performance didn't make the headlines for the right reasons, the country made a lasting impression on the team as they soaked up the true kiwi culture.

From Maori traditions and thrilling adventures in Auckland to Hobbit tours in Wellington, the team, which includes Kiwi Winston Reid, were given the chance to enjoy some of New Zealand's most iconic experiences. Starting with a traditional Maori welcome, the team witnessed the p?whiri, a ceremony involving speeches, dancing, singing and hongi which is part of the Maori protocol.

While in Auckland, the team made a trip up the iconic Auckland Sky Tower and braved the Sky Walk of 103 metres above the city.

From Auckland to Wellington, the team headed to the Weta Workshop for a private tour to learn about the detail that goes into Sir Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, with West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce even getting into the action by posing for a photo with a large replica sword.

And, no trip to New Zealand would be complete without an encounter with their most iconic Rugby team, the All Blacks, who treated the team to a surprise visit when training in Wellington. The Football United Tour, also attended by Newcastle United and Sydney FC, was a chance for New Zealanders to experience football on an international scale, something that is set to be repeated in June 2015 when the country hosts the U-20 FIFA World Cup.

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