Hugh Jackman brought to tears by south Auckland choir

Must See 28/02/2019

Hollywood A-lister Hugh Jackman was moved to tears on Wednesday by a haka and a performance from The Greatest Showman by a south Auckland choir.

Last year, a 400-strong choir made up of school-leavers from AUT's UniPrep programme, performed 'This Is Me' in a video that went viral online, amassing 1.4 million views. 

Jackman, who is visiting New Zealand to promote the launch of his world tour, 'The Man. The Music. The Show.', saw the emotional cover on YouTube and decided he'd like to meet the Oceanian Voices choir.

He surprised the group at Auckland University of Technology's South Campus at about 9.30am, where he was joined by Māori actress Keala Settle, the breakout star of The Greatest Showman and the lead singer of 'This Is Me'.

She delivered a powerful performance of the Oscar-nominated song, backed by the south Auckland choir, and was clearly emotional - wiping away a tear at one point. 

The students followed the song with a stirring haka, while Jackman watched in awe from the wings.

The university then gifted both the movie stars with taonga - each received specially carved pounamu.

"It's an incredibly emotional day. I've travelled many, many places, but this is one of the most profound, I'll never forget it," Jackman said as he choked back tears.

"I always wondered how on earth you play rugby after witnessing the haka, and now I'm even more confounded. It's one of the most powerful things I've ever seen."

When asked why he chose to visit the south Auckland campus to launch the Kiwi leg of his show, Jackman explained how much the student's 2018 performance meant to him.

"I saw a three minute 42 second video, and it was like a bullet to my heart. I walked in here this morning, and the guys were singing, warming up, and I just started to cry," he said.

"I have learnt stuff being here today. To sing with those kids is our privilege."

Hawaii-born Settle, who has family roots in Aotearoa, will feature in Jackman's world tour, which includes dates at Auckland's Spark Arena in September this year.