Welsh let down

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Editor,

On Sun­day, Septem­ber 4, the of­fi­cial wel­come and cap­ping cer­e­mony for the Welsh rugby team was moved from Taka­puwahia Marae to Te Rau­paraha Arena (due to a funeral). I can’t help feel­ing why didn’t Porirua City Coun­cil plan for it to be there in the first place?

The event was sup­posed to be in­vi­ta­tion only. But a huge thanks goes to the Arena staff, who al­lowed our small group of Welsh fans in to watch ‘‘from the cheap seats’’. We owe choco­late – it’s on its way!

I can un­der­stand that the of­fi­cial din­ner with dig­ni­taries, etc., should be in­vi­ta­tion only, but why did PCC not al­low the wel­com­ing cer­e­mony to be open to the pub­lic and the large con­tin­gent of Welsh fans (some of whom trav­elled half way round the world)?

The RWC NZ is try­ing to show off the ‘‘Sta­dium of 4 Mil­lion’’, yet Porirua put on a slightly piti­ful show and I can’t help but feel that af­ter see­ing what Welling­ton City did for the South Africans, that the Welsh were slightly ripped off. MAR­GARET SMITH,

Porirua East.

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett re­sponds: It’s a shame that Mar­garet was dis­ap­pointed in the wel­come cer­e­mony for the Welsh rugby team. I thought it went very well, es­pe­cially given there was a last minute venue change due to a tangi at the Taka­puwahia Marae.

Ac­tu­ally, the feed­back from our guests – Porirua lo­cals, Welsh play­ers and man­agers as well as RWC 2011 – was uni­formly and over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive. I had com­ments from peo­ple who at­tended say­ing how mov­ing the event was and that it made them very proud to be from Porirua.

As far as Mar­garet’s sug­ges­tion that the event should have been open to all-com­ers, that sim­ply wasn’t pos­si­ble once the or­gan­is­ers se­lected the marae as the orig­i­nal venue and the last­minute change didn’t al­low us time to throw open the doors.

Cer­tainly, if the Arena had been the venue to start with, I am sure we would have been able to ac­com­mo­date a greater num­ber.

While I al­ways wel­come con­struc­tive feed­back such as this from Mar­garet, in this in­stance I think Ngati Toa Ran­gatira, along with other or­gan­is­ers and of­fi­cials de­serve credit for a job well done.

Gate­crash­ers: Welsh rugby fans thank­ful to re­ceive ‘‘cheap seats’’ at Te Rau­paraha Arena for the team’s off­i­cal Porirua wel­come.

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