Celebrating the big day
Traffic in Tokoroa came to a standstill as thousands of people came to see the huge street parade which celebrated the longawaited start of Rugby World Cup 2011 last Friday.
Bridge St in Tokoroa was a magnificent sweep of colourful flags, painted faces, traditional dress, musical instruments and plenty of cheering in numerous languages.
The event was so big it stopped store trading.
Shoppers and store staff were compelled onto the pavement by the colour and excitement.
South Waikato District Council community development manager Amanda Hema said it was a wonderful day.
‘‘We were all overwhelmed by the amount of interest shown and believe there were close to 2000 people involved in the parade,’’ Ms Hema said.
The street parade also helped to launch Involve 11.
The parade began at the New World car park and made its way down Bridge St to Leith Place where there was a sausage sizzle.
More than 500 children from primary and pre-schools took part in the parade, representing the different nations participating in the Rugby World Cup.
‘‘Tokoroa really came out to celebrate – it was a feel good event that saw smiles on the face of all the kids (and parents alike) who came to participate,’’ Ms Hema said.
The schools which took part included Amisfield Full Primary, representing Samoa, England, Australia, France, South Africa, Ireland and Scotland; David Henry represented Canada, Fiji, Italy, Japan, Russia, and Namibia; Bishop Edward Gaines represented Georgia; Tokoroa Central proudly supported Tonga, the United States and Wales; while Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Hiringa wore Argentina’s colours with pride.
Preschool children were also involved including Samoan Taumafai Aoga Amata supporting Samoa; St Marks Community Preschool, Te Awhi Mai Te Kohanga Reo, Tokoroa Playcentre, David Henry Kindergarten, Te Kohanga Reo Ataahua, Ata Marie Te Kohanga Reo, The Ark, Te Kohanga Reo Tuarua o Tokoroa, Te Rau Oriwa Early Learning Centre, Ra-Itu Koanga and St Lukes all supported New Zealand’s All Blacks while Te Ara Metua Punanga Reo Kuki Airani backed South Africa.
At the end of the vibrant parade people were able to touch a large replica of the Webb Ellis trophy made out of plywood.
Children were able to leave their hand prints on the cup.
The finished cup will be on display throughout the central business district area during the Involve Festival.
Putaruru and Tirau also have their own cup replicas.
Ms Hema said the Hands on the Cup initiative was well received as was the free sausage sizzle.
WORLD CUP READY: Tokoroa’s street parade was a colourful event bringing many people together.