Rugby greats snapped with Giant Rugby Ball
08 Sep 2010
Tourism New Zealand’s Giant Rugby Ball is scoring major attention at Sydney Harbour, where it has provided a fitting backdrop for the All Blacks and Wallabies’ pre-match photos prior to Saturday’s Tri-Nations final.
Both sides took time out from training yesterday (7.09.2010) to visit the Giant Rugby Ball, which is in Sydney to promote New Zealand and the coming Rugby World Cup 2011.
There’s been strong media interest in the Giant Rugby Ball and Saturday’s match between New Zealand and Australia, and already the number of people visiting the giant ball on Circular Quay has exceeded expectations.
Prime Sydney location
The ball opened to the public on Friday (3.09.2010) and has seen a steady stream of visitors - more than 13,000 people have passed through it in the first five days.
The Sydney location - near the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge - is the last international resting place for the giant rugby ball which has been travelling the world to promote New Zealand and Rugby World Cup 2011.
The 25m long, 17m wide and 13m high giant inflatable ball has enjoyed some of the most high profile locations in the world - having been set up alongside the Eiffel Tower in Paris, then Tower Bridge in London and latterly beside Tokyo Tower - before arriving on Sydney’s Circular Quay.
The Giant Rugby Ball was officially welcomed onto Australian shores with an historic early morning ceremony between the first nation peoples of Australia and New Zealand - the Aboriginals and Māori.
The opening ceremony was attended by officials and VIPs from both countries and recognised the two cultures through an Aboriginal 'Welcome to Country' and a symbolic Māori powhiri / welcome.
The ball’s landing in Sydney has been well publicised with 25 Australian media outlets attending the opening ceremony and a similar number returning to record the high profile visit by the Wallabies and All Blacks.
The Giant Rugby Ball will be in Sydney for 10 days and public entry is free.
Rugby World Cup 2011
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says the ball’s presence in Sydney is Tourism New Zealand's biggest and most anticipated event for 2010, and marks the one year countdown to New Zealand's largest event ever - Rugby World Cup 2011.
He said the ball’s final global installation near the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge formed one of the most striking landscapes yet.
"The Giant Rugby Ball will be at Circular Quay from September 3 - 12, where people can enjoy the stunning multimedia tour that showcases the culture, people and landscapes of New Zealand.
"We're hoping more than 18,000 visitors will make their way through the Ball," said Bowler.
Visitor numbers had exceeded the half-way mark within three days of opening. On Sunday, which was Father’s Day, more than 3,500 people visited the ball.
One year to go
The Giant Rugby Ball’s Sydney visit not only marks one year to go until the World Cup 2011 kicks off in New Zealand, but also highlights what’s on offer for the 21,000 rugby fans expected to cross the Tasman for the tournament.
Inside the ball, visitors are ‘transported’ to a virtual New Zealand through a 10-minute, 360-degree multimedia showcase of Kiwi heritage, culture and people which features visual arts, music and theatre.
Outside there’s a variety of entertainment with cultural performances and Kiwi character improvisations with stunning imagery of New Zealand projected onto the ball at night.
On Friday night (10.09.2010) a special RNZ 2011 function will be held at the ball to launch the next allocation of tickets for RWC 2011.
Other business to business functions, NZ 2011 Festival promotions and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise events are being staged in conjunction with the Giant Rugby Ball’s Sydney season.
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New Zealand's Giant Rugby Ball
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