Wellington Scoop

Police “happy” with Sevens, but organisers hoped for more than 18,000 people

Police praised the organisers for a trouble-free weekend at the Wellington Sevens. But organisers said they’d been expecting more people. About 10,000 attended on Saturday, and only 8000 on Sunday.

After the first day, Inspector Terry van Dillen said he was very happy with crowd behaviour and believed the changes made to the event were right. “It’s been a great day from our point of view and has gone off without a hitch. Organisers are on the right course.”

Wellington Free Ambulance reported a peaceful first day for medics. Patients were treated for minor scrapes and headaches.

HSBC Wellington Sevens General Manager Steve Dunbar said more than 10,000 people had enjoyed a first day that reflected the direction organisers hoped the tournament would take.

“While we’d been expecting slightly more fans, we were thrilled with the feel-good vibe in the stands. There was plenty of banter, dancing and costumes, but we also saw the crowd really get into the on-field action.

“The Fijian community turned out in force to cheer for their Olympic gold medal heroes, and created a real buzz. Our new Food and Fizz Alley has been a hit. The top chefs struggled to keep up with demand.

“We have never shied away from the fact that we needed to make changes to the tournament to make it fun for everyone, and we’ve taken a big step towards that.”

At the end of the second day, police “commended the overwhelming majority of people for their behaviour while attending the Sevens” and said they were “generally pleased with the conduct of those who attended.”

One person was arrested for trespass on Saturday for refusing to leave while intoxicated. On Sunday one person was arrested for disorder on the walkway to the stadium.

Security staff at the Stadium ejected or turned away a total of 55 people over both days.

Sir Gordon: “Atmosphere is a shocker”


  1. Ian Apperley, 29. January 2017, 13:01

    We still see a Pollyanna attitude. How about a press release like this:

    “While Police are happy with the Sevens this year, the organisers are not. Near on 50,000 tickets will go unsold and the community has voiced its concerns in a number of forums that the new format has failed to reinvigorate the event. The event organiser, [insert name here], has resigned. Portfolio leaders from the WCC and WREDA responsible for supporting the event have similarly stood down. An independent review will ascertain why the Sevens have failed and make recommendations on its future. We apologise to all Sevens fans and the residents of Wellington. We got it very, very wrong.”

  2. Kb, 29. January 2017, 16:37

    Seems like they would struggle to fill the Basin, let alone the cake tin. Can’t believe they are still charging $137 for a full tournament ticket. That is ridiculous for an event that was trying to boost attendance.

  3. KB, 30. January 2017, 11:47

    What’s the bar for success with the sevens in Wellington? Is it primarily about finances or attendance?

    With 18,000 attending (from roughly 70,000 max capacity across two days) @ roughly $70 a head – thats approx $1.25million in ticket sales. If that same revenue figure was spread out over 50,000 attendees at $25 a head – would that be seen as a success or still a failure? What is NZ rugby & World Rugby primarily basing success on?

  4. Ian Apperley, 30. January 2017, 13:08

    KB: Money. That’s what they made it about, and now it’s a case of live by the sword, die by the sword.