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Huge rugby weekend - party tips for game day

30 June 2005

Huge rugby weekend - party tips for game day

The biggest party ever to hit Wellington is about to start with 65,000 people expected to converge on the city to watch the All Blacks play the British and Irish Lions - and to make sure everyone has a brilliant time, Wellington City Council has a few party tips.

“It’s going to be a fantastic weekend - to make sure everyone has a great time we’re asking people to take into account the huge crowds expected in the city and plan accordingly,” says Wellington Mayor and loyal All Blacks fan Kerry Prendergast.

Parking will be at a premium on game day with little or no parking at or near the Stadium. The Council is encouraging people to leave their cars at home and take the bus or train instead. Spectators are advised to get to the Stadium early - gates open at 5pm for a 7.10pm kick-off. The most reliable way for people to be in their seats for kick-off will be to walk to the Stadium. Revellers in Courtenay Place have the option of dancing down to the Stadium in step with the Wellington Pipe Band, a 22-strong troupe marching from Courtenay Place via the waterfront. Additional Walkwise staff will be on hand to direct visitors.

A liquor ban will be in place from 5pm Friday 1 July until 6am Sunday 3 July and means that it is prohibited to possess or consume alcohol in public places such as streets, parks and the waterfront in the central city. Police will enforce the liquor ban.

To ease the traffic flow around the Stadium, electronic message boards, advising motorists on the best route to take, will be erected on State Highway 1 just before the Aotea Quay off-ramp, southbound on SH2 (north of the Ngauranga Interchange), Post Office Square, and on Waterloo Quay opposite the Stadium. There will also be electronic message boards on Ngauranga Gorge advising motorists which areas to avoid. These will be updated regularly.

Taxis and other vehicles should drop off rugby fans in Bunny Street to avoid clogging Waterloo Quay.

Thorndon Quay (between Davis and Mulgrave Streets) will be closed briefly between 6pm and 6.30pm on Saturday to allow 60 buses to drop off around 4000 passengers at the Stadium.

Courtenay Place will be closed to traffic from 7pm tomorrow (Friday) night through to early Sunday morning and the entire precinct transformed into a pedestrian-friendly party zone featuring the finest of Wellington’s local talent on stages in the streets. There will also be street performances and roaming entertainers.

Friday’s festivities include indie pop/rock Wellington band Ghostplane, and soul singer Deva Mahal who will perform on the Paramount Theatre’s new balcony from 8.40pm.

A DJ booth on Manners Mall will spin tunes non-stop on Friday night and then for a 12-hour stint from midday to midnight on Saturday.

Spreading music across the city will be – The Whopper Chopper Sound System – a travelling DJ booth connected to, and powered by, eight chopper bikes.

There’ll be Kiwi comedy from midday on Saturday with buskers showing off their finest spectacular stunts and raucous antics. Christchurch’s Motley Two, Wellington’s Mr Fungus and Auckland’s Shamus will take turns to keep the crowd amused on the buskers’ pitch at the corner of Courtenay Place and Tory Street.

On Saturday afternoon the RNZAF Jazz Band will play and the Kapa Haka group from Mana College will perform. And for anyone who missed out on a seat at the Stadium - a huge 40-foot screen on Courtenay Place will play the game live.

Tickets are still available for the Big Screen Blackout – a free family event at the Michael Fowler Centre with entertainment starting at 5pm followed by a live screening of the Test Match. (Tickets from MFC Ticketek outlet only).

The latin rhythms of the Batucada Band will lead the post-match crowd along the waterfront and into Courtenay Place. And there will be other roaming musicians providing atmosphere and great sounds as people wander between bars, restaurants and venues.

The after-match entertainment in Courtenay Place includes The Aviators, The Reveals, followed by OdESSA.

Many bars will have marquees and live entertainment. To find out what’s on offer people can grab a copy of the Party Guide available free from Walkwise staff, tourism outlets and hotels.

“Wellington is going to go off – the party will be right across the central city,” says Mayor Prendergast. “I encourage everyone to get out and celebrate this historic rugby tour and what is likely be the second win for the All Blacks. And just as The Rolling Stones once sang Paint it Black, I’m urging All Blacks fans to black-out the Stadium and the city.”


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