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Rugby ball venue to showcase NZ

Rugby ball venue to showcase NZ


New Zealand is to build a giant Rugby Ball Venue in front of the Eiffel Tower during the final stages of the Rugby World Cup to showcase New Zealand tourism and trade to international audiences, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today.

"This is a bold and innovative move; an example of New Zealand’s new thinking, and an example of a small country out to make a big impression. Just as we have leveraged off Lord of the Rings, the America's Cup regattas and Team New Zealand for the benefit of our trade and tourism and the overall New Zealand brand, so a similar programme will be taking place alongside the Rugby World Cup in France as the All Blacks compete," Helen Clark said.

"The eye-catching venue - in the shape of a giant rugby ball in central Paris enables us to showcase New Zealand’s world-class talent for innovation and creativity.

"In the day time, this New-Zealand themed venue will be open to the public, promoting New Zealand tourism, businesses, culture, lifestyle, food and wine, and technology.

"In the evenings, it will become the hub for New Zealand-hosted trade and industry events, exhibitions, big screen viewing, functions and meetings, taking the best of NZ Inc. to the world.

"This is a major undertaking for New Zealand and it has been a coup to secure such a high profile spot. We are very grateful for the help and support of the Parisian authorities, in particular the Mayor of Paris Mr Bertrand Delanoe," Helen Clark said.

From early October for about three weeks, the 12 metre high and 25 metre long structure, will stand on the Champs de Mars, close to France’s iconic Eiffel Tower. Over 40,000 people are expected to experience a "virtual" New Zealand by visiting the venue while in Paris, but many more will pass by. Last year, 6.7 million people visited the Eiffel Tower.

Trevor Mallard said the government's most recent leveraging programme held in Valencia alongside the America's Cup had shown the potential of using major international events to profile New Zealand and New Zealand companies.

"The Rugby Ball Venue is the first part of a four year build-up programme and co-ordinated cross-government strategy of leveraging activities as we work to maximise the benefits for New Zealand when we host the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

"All the events that will be held there will be aimed at increasing trade and tourism revenues, and attracting new investment partners and highly skilled foreign migrants, while other activities will look to celebrate New Zealand culture and sporting success."

Damien O'Connor said the Rugby World Cup is estimated to be the world’s third largest event after the Olympics and the Football World Cup. In 2003, television coverage of the Australian event reached a cumulative audience of 3.5 billion.

"This is an audience that we cannot ignore in terms of lifting our tourism profile – and not just for this year's World Cup. Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will use the venue to encourage more visitors and key decision makers to come to New Zealand during the build-up to and throughout the Rugby World Cup 2011.

"As well as the corporate trade functions which will also offer the finest of New Zealand cuisine and wine, the Rugby Ball Venue will have an innovative sound and light display. Its walls can be used as screens, on which projection and sound equipment will represent a variety of Kiwi environments, from a rugby game to bush walks, images of a visit to New Zealand, and examples of New Zealand’s business innovation and culture.

"Beyond Rugby World Cup 2007, the venue will be moved to new locations, to continue in the build-up and leveraging from RWC 2011," Damien O’Connor said.

Following the major formal opening event, there will be corporate functions, daily public exhibitions at the venue, and promotion of New Zealand culture.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will use the venue to raise the profile of New Zealand business, and build relationships across specific sectors (for example, biotechnology and food and beverage) and between individual companies.

NZTE will also work with Tourism New Zealand and MFAT to promote New Zealand jointly at events timed around the major All Black games in the last two weeks of the World Cup. The focus for the business sector will be on bringing together key contacts in different sectors with New Zealand companies, in an environment which presents the best of New Zealand.


Further details of Rugby World Cup leveraging events will be announced as the details are finalised.

New Zealand Rugby Ball Venue:

- The venue was designed by Mike Mizrahi and his team at Inside Out Productions.
- The venue holds up to 220 people and is housed in an inflatable structure standing 25 metres long by 15 metres wide and 12 metres high.
- The venue takes three days to construct.
- The total project cost for the venue is $4.6 million to construct and operate.
- The structure will be situated close to the Eiffel Tower on Paris’ Champs de Mar.
- The venue will be managed by Tourism New Zealand.

ENDS

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