Report from Newswire by Joshua Hyde
The All Blacks may have triumphed over Tonga in Auckland, but in the capital the Wellington Fanzone outside the wharewaka was the winner last night.
The 3000 capacity venue on the waterfront was packed with All Blacks and Tonga fans for the Rugby World Cup opener.
Paul Dickens summed it up, in typical kiwi terms: “Yeah nah its good to get a view from everywhere. The screen is good, the size could be a little bit bigger but there’s nowhere else to really put it.”
The Fanzone was due to open by the middle of the day but blustery northerlies damaged some of the structures and repair work delayed the opening.
Rugby followers ignored the wind to begin pouring into the venue during the afternoon and enjoy early entertainment such as the Wellington Ukelele Orchestra and stiltwalkers.
Game time in the Fanzone at night was not reserved for rowdy drinkers, with families taking advantage of the outdoor screen.
Young All Black Fan Tarewa Rakuraku was happy to be there despite the tight fit. “It’s pretty good but it’s a bit packed, its cool that people get to come down to watch the game for free.”
“It’s a bit small they could have made it a little bigger so a lot more people could come in. It’s only bad when tall people stand in front.”
Tarewa’s dad Ritchie Rakuraku was hoping for fireworks. “It’s pretty good I thought they would have had fireworks but maybe next time. It”s good that people can bring their own alcohol in here and there hasn’t been any trouble. Usually you cant but it’s a bit of a change but yea-nah it’s quite good.”
Wellington’s big test comes on Sunday night when the city hosts the South Africa versus Wales match at Westpac Stadium.
Joshua Hyde is a student at the Whitireia Journalism School
Chaos in Auckland for RWC opening night