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Auckland lights up RWC 2011 kick-off with a bang!

4 August 2011

Auckland lights up RWC 2011 kick-off with a bang!

Auckland will kick-off its Rugby World Cup 2011 celebrations with a huge bang and party that will see the city all lit up on Friday September 9.

‘Opening Night' – as it has been dubbed – will be the biggest party ever held in Auckland with a massive celebration being held on the waterfront. The event will stretch from Queens Wharf to Eastern Viaduct and right along Quay Street.

“Auckland is holding the party to begin all parties on Friday 9 September,” says Mayor Len Brown. “Expect an event like New Zealand has never seen before – with the lights, the fireworks, the music, the culture and the rugby.”

Len Brown says the waterfront event will run from late-afternoon until the wee, small hours and is free and open to all Aucklanders and visitors – especially families.

The celebrations start at 4pm when a fleet of 20 waka arrive in the Viaduct basin , with Dave Dobbyn accompanying their arrival. This will be followed by a mass haka from more than the 600 kaihoe (waka paddlers).

Then headline act, The Finn Brothers will entertain the crowd with a mix of their classic and contemporary sounds on the Queens Wharf stage at 6pm.

Big screens will bring the Opening Ceremony live from Eden Park. Then the waterfront will be all lit up with the biggest fireworks and light show display New Zealand has ever seen – accompanied by a spectacular musical piece especially composed for Opening Night by Don McGlashan.

The opening match will follow live from Eden Park, which again will play live on big screens. After the game, the party will kick on and go well into the night with a line-up of some of New Zealand’s best musical acts – all performing free of charge.

“So come on down because the world’s here to play,” adds Len Brown. “For those not going to the Opening Match, this is a great chance to feel part of the Tournament and it’s all free.”

Meanwhile, Aucklanders are also being encouraged to make a plan for September 9 – whatever they are doing.

“With both Opening Night on the waterfront and the Tournament’s Opening Match at Eden Park on September 9, it’s going to be an especially busy night in Auckland,” explains Rachael Dacy, Chair, RWC 2011 Auckland Coordination Group.

“The waterfront party starts at 4pm so the city will be busy with activity. People can expect heavy traffic and possible delays, but having a plan will help everyone get the best out of Opening Night,” she adds.

Rachael Dacy suggests a number of things people can plan to do to help make things easier.

For those attending Opening Night on the waterfront:

Consider finishing work early to give plenty of time to get there. Queens Wharf has limited capacity so we encourage people to arrive early.
• The roads and public transport will be very busy, so city workers should either stay in town and be part of the fun or get out of the CBD by early afternoon.
• There are plenty of car park options in the CBD, but those driving should make a plan and get there early.
• Quay Street and the surrounding area will be closed, so avoid driving near there or make any essential trips or deliveries early.
• There are plenty of options available for getting into the CBD on public transport, with some services continuing until the early hours. Visit maxx.co.nz or call 0800 AUCKLAND for more info.
• Queens Wharf will be licensed, but liquor bans will be in place throughout the CBD. This will ensure everyone – including families – has a great time.

For people going to the Opening Match:
• Try the Fan Trail walk to Eden Park and enjoy the entertainment and hospitality along the way.
• Special event public transport is free with a match ticket and one of the best ways of getting to the match.
• No matter how you are getting to the game, plan to be in your seat by 700pm at the latest for opening ceremony and kick off so you do not miss a thing.

Len Brown says September 9 will be a wonderful opportunity to show the world just what a fantastic and vibrant city Auckland really is.

“I can’t wait for Opening Night and I look forward to seeing as many Aucklanders and visitors as possible down on the waterfront having the time of their lives,” he adds.

“It is all going to be here and you’ll want to be here too – so come on down and join in the fun!”

For more information on Auckland’s RWC 2011 plans for Opening Night and the Opening match visit www.auckland2011.com


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