Cup competition for best dressed street
With Rugby World Cup 2011 less than a month away, Matamata people are doing their bit to make the town a welcoming place for visitors.
Matamata Public Relations Association’s Sue Whiting said when visitors started to arrive, the association wanted the town to feel inviting.
‘‘We believe that during this event, we as a small town need to be as friendly and as welcoming as possible,’’ she said. ‘‘So we are preparing a banner to hang across Broadway and will be putting up a lot of international flags.’’
The world cup starts on September 9 with New Zealand playing Tonga in Auckland at 8.30pm.
New Zealand is expecting a surge in visitors during the tournament but Matamata motels and bed and breakfast businesses spoken to by the Matamata Chronicle said they were yet to receive any bookings.
Matamata Central Motel owner John Masson said they had not had a single booking for the cup as small towns did not seem to be visitors’ first port of call. ‘‘ I think once Auckland fills up, they will start coming down to the smaller towns,’’ he said.
‘‘We have not had to raise any of our prices because there is no crowd – no rush just yet.
‘‘ I think when overseas people are looking at a map, Matamata looks far away from Auckland but once here, I think they will find it isn’t too far and come to stay.’’
Mr Masson said he believed that Matamata would mainly see visitors just travelling through, rather than staying overnight.
The New Zealand 2011 office has announced a new competition for small towns to participate in during the rugby world cup.
They are on the lookout for the best dressed street which will win a fully-catered street party with refreshments for 50 people, live entertainment and a marquee. The party will be on October 15, just before the first cup semi-final.
Shops are free to dress their shop windows in support of the cup and to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
The competition ends September 23.