The Rugby World Cup is well upon us here in New Zealand!
For those of you who didn’t hear about the mass chaos that was the opening night of the Rugby World Cup, let us fill you in.
Over 50,000 people had packed into the city core by 4pm on Friday, 9 September, headed towards the Viaduct, the central hub of the RWC action in Auckland. The Viaduct, not having the capacity for 50,000 people, quickly became an unsafe environment, as mass pandamonium and chaos resulted on the streets of Auckland city. Brendon, along with our friends Amber and Dale, had bravely ventured down that afternoon in hopes of taking in a live haka (Maori war dance) and see a fleet of Maori wakas (canoes) arrive into the harbor, but quickly settled for merely escaping alive and unharmed from the unmerciful crowd. “There were moments where I was a little terrified,” admits Brendon. The dangerously over-crowded Viaduct meant that ferries couldn’t dock at the terminal, leaving hundreds of people stuck on the floating vessels for hours. To further complicate things, the Auckland public transport system failed that evening as well due to misconduct of a few individuals on trains. Trains were forced to stop running early Friday evening, leaving many people stranded on the tracks. As a result in breakdown of pubic transport, many people missed out on the All Black’s opening match against Tonga. Auckland City Council has since launched a proposal to compensate those who missed out on attending the opening match.
On a more positive note, things have settled down a bit since Friday, and there is an exciting buzz around the city with the Rugby World Cup upon us. Everyone is getting into the spirit of the Cup- many a shop and residence are adorned with the flags of participating counties. Specific neighbourhoods in Auckland have been given a second country to “adopt,” and our adopted country is Australia. Hence, you will see the shops in Mt. Eden lined with Australian flags. Though the flag looks similar to the NZ flag, people are very aware that they are Aussie flags, and many say they are prepared to rip them down if there should be any kind of upset.
I’d say New Zealanders have really gotten into hosting and taking part in the Cup. My school has really taken on the idea of celebrating the Rugby World Cup with decor, themed activity packs, theme days, and an entire day devoted to rugby later this month. (F.Y.I, I’m in charge of the rugby cheers, so if you know any good ones, please pass them on!) It’s neat that we get to experience being part of the Rugby World Cup while we are here in NZ.
We are expecting Vancouver riots x10 in the streets of Auckland if the All Blacks do not win… so let’s hope they do!
Go Canada and The All Blacks!!!