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The teams will meet in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final at Eden Park in Auckland tonight.
An Airbus A321neo, which can carry up to 40 more passengers than the usual Airbus A320s that service the Dunedin-Auckland route, took off yesterday afternoon, the first of six such flights to help get Highlanders fans to the game.
Excited Dunedin local Phil Noye said he was flying up to see the action.
Dunedin restaurateur Gillian Sugiyama, who runs Takeichi in central Dunedin, said she called herself the "adoptive mother" of Highlander Kazuki Himeno because he came to the Japanese restaurant so often. She was at the airport to see him off and wish him well.
"It’s absolutely exciting. We decorated the restaurant window, Takeichi, in support of them."