There's great excitement in Auckland about the first ever Tall Ships Festival this weekend, and around 200,000 people are expected to crowd onto the wharves to get a chance to walk on board.
Tall Ships Festival moves on to Auckland
The flotilla of international vessels, here after the trans-Tasman crossing from Sydney, is proving quite a spectacle for young and old.
It's a sight Auckland may never see again – a fleet of old-time sailing vessels berthed along the harbour's edge.
Thousands of spectators lined the Auckland waterfront to hop aboard the traditional vessels.
The three-day event kicked off with a parade and Powhiri to welcome the 600 sailors from eight tall ships, which have travelled from as far as the Netherlands, Canada and the UK as well as Australia and New Zealand's own Spirit of New Zealand.
'We've never had an armada of vessels like this ever before, since the 17th century when they got off the ships and landed in the country,' says Tall Ships Festival director John Lister.
The ships have just completed the Trans-Tasman Tall Ships 'race' from Sydney to the Bay of Islands, in which the Spirit of New Zealand was placed third.
'It's just a splendid feeling to get a ship like that from A to B and over such an ocean, with so much history in it,' says Gijs Sluik, Netherlands Tecla Ship captain. 'It's just a once-in-a-lifetime thing for us.'
The ships will be open to the public Sunday before the fleet departs with a full naval salute from Orakei Wharf on Monday.