New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and UNICEF have announced an international partnership which will see the All Blacks, and all other New Zealand Rugby teams, support UNICEF’s work in improving the lives of children and communities around the world.

The partnership between NZR and UNICEF brings together two of the most highly-respected global brands, harnessing the power of sport to raise awareness and funds for the world’s most vulnerable and excluded children.

The new partners share a common vision of sport and play as essential to the health, happiness and wellbeing of children and young people, and as key tools for teaching strong values and important life skills. Both organizations also believe in the power of sport to inspire and unite people behind a common goal, in this case, children.

NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew explained that by forging an international partnership with UNICEF, New Zealand Rugby would be playing a part in bringing attention to the important issues UNICEF tackles.

“Making a meaningful difference to people’s lives beyond the action on the field is a commitment we take very seriously. Our teams spend a great deal of time away from home and by supporting UNICEF we are ensuring we can use the power of rugby and the All Blacks to connect with people wherever our teams play.”

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said, "In our work we see firsthand how sport can change the lives of even the most disadvantaged children – children in poor communities, children living through emergencies and conflicts, children with disabilities – helping them overcome challenges, restoring a sense of normalcy, and providing the simple joy of play.

“We are excited to welcome New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks family to #TeamUNICEF and look forward to working together to get more disadvantaged children off the sidelines and into the game.”

The All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens, New Zealand Women’s Sevens, Black Ferns, Maori All Blacks and New Zealand Under 20 teams will contribute to UNICEF’s work as they play rugby around the world. They are joining UNICEF’s existing team of international sports partners and ambassadors, including FC Barcelona and Manchester United and sporting champions David Beckham and Serena Williams. UNICEF also works with sporting bodies such as the International Olympics Committee and is an official partner for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

In New Zealand, All Blacks Conrad Smith, Charlie Faumuina and Tony Woodcock marked the launch at an event at Melville Intermediate School in Hamilton, where the team was based ahead of Saturday’s test match against England.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director of the New Zealand National Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF New Zealand) said, "Children are at the heart of UNICEF’s partnership with New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks, so it’s fantastic that children from Melville Intermediate can meet their heroes and take part in this exciting event.

UNICEF New Zealand already works closely with schools in New Zealand to help kids learn about sport and fair play, and we are also proud to have the support of All Black legend Jonah Lomu as an Ambassador. The New Zealand Rugby teams have an incredible following around the world and we look forward to seeing the impact their support will have for children on a global scale.”

To celebrate the partnership launch, New Zealand Rugby is auctioning off a limited edition signed Dan Carter framed jersey to mark his 100 Test caps. The auction will run on until 28 June, 2014. All funds raised from the auction will go to UNICEF.

Throughout the partnership, the All Blacks will also raise funds at As well as supporting UNICEF’s global work for children, the All Blacks partnership will have a special emphasis on UNICEF’s 100% immunization campaign which aims to reach every child with life-saving vaccines.

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