Following the success of the Lions tour in Wellington in 2005 and annual NZI Rugby Sevens tournaments, the heart of Wellington city was transformed into a fan-friendly area during Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011).
Most events and activities taking place throughout Wellington city and the wider region were under the Festival of Carnivale banner.
The Festival of Carnivale featured the best of Wellington during Rugby World Cup 2011. Starting on 9 September, the festival included:
- a diverse array of art, performance and entertainment
- rugby-themed events and activities
- a strong focus on mana whenua and our Pasifika communities, as well as Wellington's other diverse cultures, including traditional Kiwi culture
- many free events
Events and entertainment were spread over many locations around the city, including:
- the official fan zone, centred on the waterfront in Odlins Plaza near the wharewaka and lagoon, featuring live broadcasts on the big screen, official merchandise and giveaways
- the Courtenay Place 'live site' over the quarter-finals weekend
- a 'civic village' in the Town Hall and in Civic Square featuring family entertainment, and community and multicultural groups
- a range of outdoor locations along the waterfront featuring installations and street performance
- the city's entertainment venues, galleries and museums.
Weta sculpture unveiled
A giant sculpture of rugby players created by Weta was formally unveiled to the public by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown on 13 August.
The sculpture is located on Jack Ilott Green by Civic Square. The site was chosen as a central link between the rugby entertainment fan zone on the waterfront at the wharewaka Te Raukura, and the family-focused entertainment around Civic Square.
Wellington City Council commissioned the sculpture to mark the city's hosting of Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011). Funding for the sculpture was agreed after public consultation as part of the 2010/11 Annual Plan.
Richard Taylor and his team at Weta started work on the sculpture in the middle of 2010.
The site on Jack Ilott Green is a temporary one and the sculpture will be moved to a permanent site, yet to be decided, after RWC 2011.