Welsh let down
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 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.