The two All Blacks visiting New York are Victor Vito, member of the 2011 Rugby World Cup winning side, and rising star Ryan Crotty, who played in the recent match where the All Blacks beat Australia 51-20 to retain the Bledisloe Cup for the 12th successive year.
The players are guests of honour at a function hosted by the Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the United Nations to celebrate the All Blacks international relationship to support UNICEF’s work in improving the lives of children and communities around the world.
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 an international partnership with UNICEF, in addition to the support in New Zealand for its official charity, Cure Kids, would help play a part in bringing attention to the important issues affecting children in New Zealand and overseas.
"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 first-hand 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 have players from the world champion All Blacks in town and part of #TeamUNICEF and look forward to working together to get more disadvantaged children off the sidelines and into the game."
The Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the UN, HE Jim McLay said they were delighted to welcome the All Blacks to New York and recognise the exciting partnership between New Zealand Rugby and UNICEF.
"The All Blacks are great ambassadors for New Zealand around the world. As well as leading the world on the rugby field, they are also demonstrating that off the field they are doing their bit to bring attention to UNICEF’s work to make a difference to the lives of children and communities around the world."
The partnership with the All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens, New Zealand Women’s Sevens, Black Ferns, Maori All Blacks and New Zealand Under 20 teams was unveiled in New Zealand recently and will contribute to UNICEF’s work as they play rugby around the world.
The teams 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.
Throughout the partnership, the All Blacks will also raise funds at www.supportunicef.org/allblacks.
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.