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Lions Fans Swamp Rotorua On Trek To Last Test

July 6 2005

Lions Fans Swamp Rotorua On Trek To Last Test

One of New Zealand's top tourist attractions, Te Puia, at Rotorua, says thousands upon thousands of Lion supporters are streaming through its gates.

The attraction, which features the famous Pohutu Geyser, Maori cultural experience, and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, had a sea of red rugby jerseys pass through the famous carved archway on Monday this week on their way to the match against the Auckland Blues.

Te Puia's chief executive, Andrew Te Whaiti, says visitor numbers have gone through the roof in a traditionally quiet period.

"It's all hands to the pumps with staff are working overtime to cope," he says. "People are being pulled from all corners of the business to help. The offshore marketing team has been working on the gates; the education team are helping out by guiding extra tours.

"Given the volume of visitors, it looks like there is going to be an awful lot more red shirts in the stands at this weekend's test. The Barmy Army is definitely moving in full force," Te Whaiti says.

And he says spirits don't appear to have been dampened by the weather and Lions test losses.

"We have really enjoyed having them here. They are very friendly, happy and having a great time in New Zealand which is what we like to see."

Te Whaiti says he expects the throng to continue through to the weekend and then after the tests when some of the tour parties will take time to travel independently."

The touring Lions team also visited Te Puia during the first week of their tour.


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