Whip­ping up World Cup spirit

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KARO­LINE TUCKEY

Porirua will be decked out in sup­port of the Rugby World Cup, and hope­fully the air will be buzzing, one city stal­wart says.

Canopy Con­nec­tion man­ager Eric Jones was vis­it­ing re­tail­ers last week with strings of bunting to hang in shop win­dows.

So far, about 30 busi­nesses had asked for the packs of mini-flags, rep­re­sent­ing all 20 coun­tries tak­ing part, he said.

‘‘Hope­fully with all the events, the lo­cal com­mu­nity gets into the spirit of things.

‘‘The only thing I could pos­si­bly com­pare it to is the sevens, where the at­mos­phere is just amaz­ing, and I would hope that same at­mos­phere would be part of the World Cup in Porirua.

‘‘The re­tail­ers are get­ting be­hind it, try­ing to cre­ate an at­mos­phere, and they are do­ing their best, putting up heaps of ban­ners and run­ning heaps of events.’’

Events like the Real Porirua Fes­ti­val and open train­ing ses­sions to see vis­it­ing teams up close would give fans a way to join in the cel­e­bra­tions, and hope­fully at­tract vis­i­tors to Porirua, he said.

‘‘ They may at­tract do­mes­tic vis­i­tors or in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors that are ei­ther stay­ing in Welling­ton for cup events or passing through to go to other lo­ca­tions.

‘‘I’m very hope­ful that we may get some spinoffs. We did when the Lions tour came.

‘‘The ho­tel in­dus­try, in terms of ac­com­mo­da­tion, did quite well out of it, and the World Cup is bring­ing far more num­bers than the Lions tour.’’

It is time to dust off All Black sup­port­ers gear and start wear­ing it around town, Mr Jones says.

‘‘An event like this cre­ates a feel­ing where ev­ery­body’s very, very friendly and happy, and that cre­ates ca­ma­raderie, and . . . you don’t have to be a mad fan to en­joy the at­mos­phere and go along for the ride. You can ex­pect peo­ple to get be­hind it, and cer­tainly the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try will be do­ing some­thing.

‘‘Re­gion­ally, I think ev­ery­body’s done well. It’s good to see us work­ing col­lec­tively to pro­mote what the area has to of­fer, and pro­mote lo­cal at­trac­tions and sites, food and cul­ture,’’ he says.

Rugby World Cup flags were tied to lamp-posts on the city’s cen­tral streets last week.

They cost the city $11 each, be­ing largely sub­sidised by the Rugby World Cup ($40 per flag).

True colours: Canopy Con­nec­tion man­ager Eric Jones says Porirua will be buzzing with Rugby World Cup fever, and he is dis­tribut­ing bunting to busi­nesses to help build up the spirit.

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