Pine Man is rugby ready

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By ADEN MILES

The Rugby World Cup kicks off in two days and the South Waikato will be a hive of ac­tiv­ity to mark the oc­ca­sion.

South Waikato District Coun­cil com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment man­ager Amanda Hema said: ‘‘The whole event se­ries is go­ing to be fan­tas­tic – a real chance for the com­mu­nity to cel­e­brate and join in the fes­tiv­i­ties.’’

Toko­roa’s iconic Pine Man has been dressed in black to sup­port New Zealand.

‘‘Peter Doo­ley the sculp­tor and Toko­roa Rotary Club who com­mis­sioned the work gave us the go ahead to dress him and he looks fabulous. We have al­ready had awe­some feed­back from the pub­lic about how great he looks.’’

There is also a Walk of Fame, Ms Hema said 25 All Black and in­ter­na­tional rugby play­ers came from the South Waikato.

‘‘Busi­nesses in the cen­tral busi­ness district were in­vited to take part in a Walk of Fame pro­mo­tion,’’ she said,

Busi­nesses jumped on board to adopt one or two lo­cal rugby stars and have a dis­play in their shop win­dows.

‘‘Some peo­ple have been sur­prised that so many play­ers have been as­so­ci­ated with the district by ei­ther birth or lived here at some time in their lives (or in­deed still live here). There are still family mem­bers liv­ing lo­cally who have been so gen­er­ous with their time and of course the mem­o­ra­bilia they have loaned us.’’

Fri­day also marks the launch of In­volve 11.

‘‘Pri­mary schools and pre-schools were in­vited to take part in a street pa­rade rep­re­sent­ing the dif­fer­ent na­tions par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Rugby World Cup,’’ she added that over 500 chil­dren would be in­volved.

The schools tak­ing part in­clude Am­is­field Full Pri­mary, David Henry, Bishop Ed­ward Gaines, Toko­roa Cen­tral and Te Kura Kau­papa Maori o Te Hiringa.

The preschool aged chil­dren will come from Ata Marie, Te Awhi Mai, Ataahua, Tuarua o Toko­roa, David Henry Kindergarten, Samoa Tau­mafai Aoga Amata, St Luke’s Mokop­una and Ta­mariki Apii, St Mark’s, Te Ara Me­tua, The Ark, Te Rau Oriwa, Toko­roa Play­cen­tre and Ra-Itu Koanga Reo.

The pa­rade starts from New World carpark at 11am from where they will march down Bridge St to Leith Place where there will be a sausage siz­zle and an op­por­tu­nity to put their hands on a replica of the Webb El­lis tro­phy.

The large replica has been made out of ply­wood and the chil­dren will be able to put their hand prints (paint dipped) on the cup.

The fin­ished cup will be on dis­play through­out the cen­tral busi­ness district dur­ing the In­volve Fes­ti­val time­frame which is held from Septem­ber 9-25.

Pu­taruru and Ti­rau also have their own replica of the cup in their towns.

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