Panthers forward Trent Merrin speaks to the media about the experience of visiting Christchurch, and the importance of Saturday's game.

Nearly 500 pupils and parents from South New Brighton School and Rawhiti School received tickets to Saturday's game thanks to a generous group of local businesses.

The New Brighton area was one of the areas hardest hit by the devastating Christchurch earthquake of 2011.

Match organiser Justin Wallace said that this group of Christchurch companies, together with Development Christchurch, wanted to show their support to the New Brighton community.

"They want to celebrate New Brighton’s resilience," Mr Wallace said.

The companies who supported the project were Harcourts Gold New Brighton, Hellers, Arrow, Tradestaff, Crombie Lockwood, Chambers, Farrell Group, Christchurch Casino and Tradestaff, along with Development Christchurch.