New Zealand-wide 2011 festival revealed
01 Apr 2010
Rugby is the catalyst but plans for a nationwide festival during Rugby World Cup 2011 will also showcase Kiwi culture, food and wine, and passion for the outdoors.
As the countdown to RWC 2011 continues, the New Zealand public has had a first glimpse of the six-week festival - scheduled to run in the lead-up to and during the tournament - with the unveiling this week of the first confirmed events.
From wild foods and adrenalin hits to fine wine and waka-racing - locals and visitors to Rugby World Cup 2011 will have the chance to experience the full spectrum of Kiwi life and culture, ensuring a non-stop party atmosphere throughout New Zealand.
Biggest ever festival
According to the official coordinating body - the New Zealand 2011 office, the festival will be the biggest ever staged in New Zealand and will feature more than 1000 events.
While the New Zealand 2011 office is a government organisation, the festival will be largely driven by the regions.
Festival Director Briony Ellis says every region is taking the opportunity to showcase the best of its culture, people and landscapes, as well as local flavours and attractions.
She says the festival will touch every part of New Zealand, well beyond the 23 centres hosting games and teams.
Many events highlighting iconic New Zealand activities and landmarks are already showing on the online festival programme - www.nz2011.govt.nz - which will continue to grow in the lead-up to the tournament.
On the South Island’s West Coast, locals are planning to serve up an exciting new food fest - the Great West Coast Whitebait and Wildfoods Challenge - that promises to put some of New Zealand’s iconic and unusual wild foods on the plate.
Visitors will be invited to sample and judge the challenge dishes that will be created at restaurants and eateries the length and breadth of the West Coast - from huhu grub bruschetta to the regional must-have fresh whitebait pattie sandwich.
The forestry town of Kawerau, in the North Island’s Bay of Plenty region, is planning a mighty Woodfest during the tournament’s opening week. The 22nd National Woodskills Festival is a physical competition that also involves skilled craftsmanship and art.
In Southland there are big plans to showcase renowned Bluff oysters with a first-ever two-season catch. A portion of the 2011 main season quota - harvested between March and June - will be set aside in growing tanks to feed RWC 2011 visitors.
Huge influx expected
More than 60,000 international rugby fans and thousands of expatriate Kiwis are expected to visit New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2011.
Major towns and cities across New Zealand are preparing to host the massive crowds in dedicated fan zones.
Wellington is planning a rugby village, centred around a giant wharewaka - or canoe house - on the waterfront. The new development, scheduled for completion in early 2011, will be close to Te Papa national museum and the civic centre. Auckland is also planning a central city waterfront development.
Rugby will also dominate central Christchurch as the city turns Cathedral Square into a World Cup playground, featuring a giant dome and rugby field, for up to 10,000 fans.
Further south, Dunedin is planning live entertainment and a big television screen in the Octagon that will create a focal point for fans in the heart of the city.
Queenstown - New Zealand’s adventure tourism resort - won’t be hosting any games but is still expecting to draw crowds of tourists and locals into its own lakefront fan zone.
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