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Mayors Kick Off For Charity With The Virtual NPC

23 August 2002

New Zealand’s Mayors Kick Off For Charity With The Virtual NPC

The tension in mayoral offices around the country will be palpable tomorrow at 5pm as New Zealand’s civic leaders make their first picks in the hugely popular Virtual NPC, a joint venture between Air New Zealand and the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

Joining more than 54,000 fellow Kiwis in what is rapidly becoming New Zealand’s favourite online game, the country’s 77 mayors have been invited to join the

Air New Zealand Mayor’s Challenge.

This airline initiative will see mayors compete for $5,000 worth of Air New Zealand flights for a local children’s charity, school, club or not for profit organisation of their choice.

Mayors from as far afield as Kaikohe, Gisborne, Thames and Alexandra have thrown their support behind the virtual challenge.

In taking the Virtual NPC into New Zealand’s heartland, Air New Zealand is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to the regions and the NPC itself.

New Plymouth mayor Peter Tennent, the first mayor in the country to sign up for the challenge, describes the concept as “a terrific idea’.

He adds; “There’s plenty of contact between the mayors of different councils, so this Virtual NPC Mayors Challenge will give a whole new perspective to our discussions!”

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt confesses although he’s played rugby for both Massey (North Harbour) and West Arm (Manapouri - Southland) he’s hopeless at guessing scores because he lets his heart rule his head - which could turn up some interesting picks in the Virtual NPC.

“I was convinced Southland would beat Waikato in the opening game. The score will tell you Waikato won, but in my heart Southland won a magnificent victory.

All right, I know we’ve hardly won a game in three seasons but our day will come!,” he says.

Dunedin mayor Sukhi Turner admits she’s likely to get her husband, cricketing legend Glen Turner - a self-confessed rugby expert - to do her picks each week while MacKenzie District mayor Stan Scorringe from the Canterbury High Country praises Air New Zealand for an initiative that “goes straight to rugby’s heartland”.

In Kaikohe, the Far North mayor Yvonne Sharp adds: “What a great way to be able to support our local NPC team, Northland. We’re delighted to get behind this and we’ll be watching Northland’s progress with great interest.”

More than three times as many players have joined the Virtual NPC as at the same stage last season and the number of hits the site received on Monday morning, when players logged on to check their weekend performance, made it the second busiest website in the country.

VIRTUAL NPC - LATEST FACTS & FIGURES

- The 10 best-supported teams, so far, are:

Canterbury 21.9% of Virtual NPC players

Wellington 20.9%

Auckland 14.1%

Otago 11.7%

Waikato 8.0%

North Harbour 5.6%

Taranaki 4.2%

Bay of Plenty 3.6%

Hawkes Bay 3.0%

Southland 2.8%

- Most popular “mates’ chosen to play with

Celebrity “mates’

Martin Devlin 6,316

Clint Brown 5,559

Phil Gifford 5,460

Tony Johnson 4,277

Carol Hirschfeld 3,831

Spike the Penguin 3,675

- Amongst ordinary New Zealanders chosen as “mates”

Gifkikker Chosen by 84 other players

Oshgosh 71

Grizz 1 57

Mooloo Man 48

Mainland Marvel 48

Rowlandos 42

Jdboy 40

- The Virtual NPC has thrown up some curious user names:

eeoorethepong

mooloo6

bobhurricane_no.13

JT MAN IN A DA HOUSE

Rugby Rocket 2002


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