Rugby World Cup
By Andy Barratt
There is probably no need to remind anyone that the Rugby World Cup is
not far away now. The Dunedin City Council has been busy preparing for
the event for many months now. The Waikouaiti Coast Community Board
has been doing its bit too. A working party has been set up to ensure
that the Cup brings as much benefit as possible to our local area. The
working party recently held a meeting with the DCC Rugby World Cup
team to discuss the event and its potential impact on our communities.
Following the Canterbury earthquake, the original schedule had to be
reorganized, meaning that Dunedin will now host four matches. These
are: England v Argentina (Sept 10); England v Georgia (Sept 18);
England v Romania (Sept 24); Ireland v Italy (Oct 2). The big change
is the presence of England and up to 15,000 team supporters
accompanying them. All matches are in the evening (starting at either
6pm or 8pm).
Needless to say, it is very difficult to predict actual numbers, but
it is certain that a sizeable number of visitors to the city will be
coming from the north, which means that Waikouaiti and Blueskin Bay
will function very much as the northern gateway to the Rugby World
Cup. Work is progressing on setting up an information facility in
Waikouaiti for the duration of the Cup. This will provide us with an
excellent opportunity to "showcase" our area. The Community Board is
considering a local map for visitors with basic information about the
settlements and places of interest.
Arrangements have been made for the Excursion Train to run to and from
Waitati to serve each of the matches, which means that Waitati may
well become something of a "hub" on game days. The Board has asked
that the train run further up the line, perhaps even as far as
Palmerston, but we don't know yet if that is a possibility.
The DCC team expect that most Cup visitors will be accommodated in the
central city, but it is likely that some will look for somewhere to
stay a bit further out. If there is anyone wishing to make
accommodation available for the Cup period, the DCC advise to work
through their recommended booking agency, www.80minutegame.com
The most important message from the DCC team is for local communities
to take the initiative. Such events come our way very rarely and
provide a wonderful opportunity for businesses, groups and
organizations to "do their thing". The day before and the day after
each game are times that may be particularly well suited for putting
on shows and events of all kinds. The DCC will be producing a special
Events Calendar and are keen for as many events as possible to
advertise in it.
So, the challenge is on and it is up to us to make the most of the
opportunity that this event presents. We will certainly be looking for
volunteers to look after the Information Site. Other than that, it is
a case of everyone getting on with the job themselves. Do the local
schools want to "adopt" a second team and perhaps arrange some
competitions? Do sports groups want to run "open" events with an
invitation to visitors to participate? Do local groups and small
enterprises want to put on special market days?
For those considering making the most of this opportunity the official
website for the rugby world cup is www.rugbyworldcup.com. This website
provides event specific information including a guide to the Major
Events Management Act 2007, the act which effectively gives control to
Rugby World Cup Ltd (who are responsible for running the event for the
NZRFU and the IRB) over advertising, associated events, and branding
among other things.
(Andy wrote this article on behalf of both Progress of Waikouaiti Area
(Powa) and the Community Board.)
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