"Hands off" was the order of the day when the rugby world cup was brought to Waiheke for a weekend visit.
The solid silver and gold plated William Webb Ellis trophy could be seen but not touched after an over enthusiastic 4-year-old dropped it a couple of weeks earlier.
It was guarded under the watchful eyes of New Zealand Rugby Union game development manager and former Waiheke resident Richard Skelly, who added Waiheke Rugby Club as an extra destination after the cup's official tour ended.
A stream of sponsors, coaches, managers and supporters were given the opportunity to get up close to the actual trophy held aloft by Richie McCaw after the stomach-wrenching final last October.
Waiheke High School rugby team raised the roof with a stirring haka befitting the once-in-a-lifetime moment on Friday night.
The following morning the trophy was back in position for club players to grab team and individual photos. Club manager Bruce Sciascia, complete with white gloves, had the auspicious job of holding the trophy on high for a photograph with all the junior teams.
Keen rugby fan Malcolm Croawell had tickets to eight Rugby World Cup games at Eden Park, including the final, which he shared with his wife Karen, daughter Jessica, and their friends.
He says it was a "real buzz" to get so close to the cup. "It was great to see it carried around the field by our boys on the night and it brought back some great memories to see it just a few inches from my nose.
"It's great the rugby union lets people get close to it rather than locking it away – it's the New Zealand way."
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