Four million Kiwis prepare to roar
Twelve host towns and cities in different New Zealand regions will help fill the 'stadium of four million' promised by the New Zealand Rugby Union for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The geographical spread - from Whangarei in the top of the North Island to Invercargill at the bottom of the South Island - reflects the NZRU's desire to make the tournament a nationally supported event.
It also promises to take the Kiwi love affair with the oval ball and the All Blacks to new heights.
Tens of thousands of international rugby fans are expected in New Zealand for the 2011 event. It will bring lucrative results for the host centres as well as the country as a whole.
With the venues confirmed this week, regional pride and competitiveness is now set to swing into action as the chosen centres vie to become the host with the most.
The host centres (from north to south) are:
- North Shore
- New Plymouth
- Palmerston North
All venues will host at least two games.
2011 kick off
The 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament will kick off at Eden Park in
Auckland on 9 September 2011; the final match will be played in the
same venue on 23 October 2011.
The IRB Rugby World Cup is the third-largest sports event in the
world. The inaugural tournament took place in 1987 and it is held every
2011 Rugby World Cup host centres
Whangarei - halfway between Auckland and New Zealand’s northern tip - is the regional launching pad for New Zealand’s far north, a narrow stretch of land surrounded by unspoilt coastline and a seaside playground offering adventure and escape. Birthplace of the modern nation, the region has a rich Māori and early European heritage.
North Shore, Auckland
North Shore City - New Zealand’s fourth largest city - is a ferry ride or quick drive over the harbour bridge from Auckland’s downtown, and home to many ‘Aucklanders’. This vibrant city inhabits an ancient volcanic landscape fringed by sandy beaches with spectacular coastal views of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands.
Auckland’s big city blend of harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern downtown has created a unique urban outdoors lifestyle. Natural assets make it a great destination for land and water activities - from bungy to sailing, casino to wildlife experiences, food and wines - or getting away from it all on island sanctuaries.
Hamilton - bustling commercial centre of the lush Waikato farming region - is a fast-growing university city on the banks of the mighty Waikato River. The Waikato is the home to the Māori royal family, Waitomo Caves - a vast underground limestone cave system, the Hobbiton film set, and one of New Zealand’s great rugby regions.
Rotorua, Bay of Plenty
Rotorua’s natural thermal wonderland has been home to the Te Arawa Māori tribe since ancient times. It’s also the birthplace of New Zealand tourism since the 1880s when tourists from the world over flocked to view the amazing Pink and White Terraces. The terraces disappeared in a massive volcanic eruption in 1886, but the town on the shores of Lake Rotorua is still an adventure, cultural and spa destination like no other.
New Plymouth, Taranaki
New Plymouth, beneath Mount Taranaki’s snow-capped volcanic cone and overlooking the pounding Tasman Sea, is an all-year round adventure centre for surfers, snow sports enthusiasts and wild country adventurers. The city also offers a vibrant creative and cultural scene, great cafés, award-winning gardens and nature walks.
Napier, Hawke's Bay
Napier - famed for an extensive collection of Art Deco architecture - is the booming hub of Hawke’s Bay wine country. With its sunny, Mediterranean-style climate, Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s leading producer of red wine, and also known for its artisan gourmet foods, glorious beaches and rugged Cape Kidnappers gannet colony.
Palmerston North, Manawatu
Palmerston North, on the banks of the Manawatu river, has the world’s first dedicated rugby museum making it a must-see destination for rugby fans. Between mountains and the sea, this university town is also the stepping off point for many authentic New Zealand experiences inspired by rural life and fresh-air adventures.
Wellington is New Zealand’s creative as well as capital city - a vibrant inner city mix of lively cafés and restaurants, boutique shopping, heritage buildings, museums and galleries, and entertainment venues, all a few steps in any direction. Nestled between harbour and hills, the city also has a world famous wildlife sanctuary, easy access to outdoor activities and an enthusiastic sporting culture.
Nelson, a sunny pocket paradise in the northern South Island, is home to many reputed New Zealand artists and craftspeople, including traditional and contemporary Māori artists. Artistic works are often inspired by the region’s luscious coastal, forest and valley landscapes. Food, wine and some of New Zealand’s finest walking tracks are also part of the Nelson experience.
Dunedin’s strong Scottish heritage is a unique colonial experience. On dramatic hills above a natural harbour, the city has been home to Māori, whalers, gold-miners and migrants from Scotland, China and other distant places. One of the world’s best preserved Victorian / Edwardian cities, Dunedin is also incredible for its local wildlife - the world's rarest penguins, an albatross colony, fur seals and sea lions.
Invercargill, Southland’s well preserved little city, serves up its own special brand of ‘southern hospitality’ to visitors who make it to New Zealand’s deep south. Locals are proud of their independent ‘can-do’ attitude, the famous Bluff oyster from the depths of Foveaux Strait, and some of New Zealand’s most spectacular ecological marvels - Stewart Island and the Catlins coast.
2011 Rugby World Cup returns to New Zealand
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