Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is inviting leaders in the private sector to contribute to a $50,000 prize pool for the best costumes at next year's tournament in Wellington.
The Mayor says while the Sevens has done much to enhance Wellington's reputation as a vibrant and friendly city, it is the fans who transformed a rugby tournament into an international extravaganza.
"The fans bring so much energy, colour and fun into the city," says Mayor Wade-Brown.
"They volunteer their time and creativity and the result is marvellous costumes and a carnival atmosphere that adds considerable value to Wellington's brand, so I think it's time we recognised the contribution of the fans."
The Mayor is asking private sector leaders to donate cash or other prizes to a total value of $50,000.
Details will be worked through with the Joint Venture Wellington Sevens Board, the New Zealand Rugby Union, the Wellington Rugby Union and sponsors. Group and individual categories will be announced later this year.
The idea for $50,000 in prizes for the best costumes came out of a recent meeting between the Mayor and Museum Hotel owner Chris Parkin, who will lead a fundraising organizing group.
"Chris immediately offered to kick off the fundraising with a $5,000 donation. He has also offered to help me spread the message in the private sector," says the Mayor.
Mr Parkin says the initiative will add a new dimension to the Wellington Sevens.
"The whole community benefits from the Sevens tournament but it is the fans who make it what it is and this is recognition of that." says Mr Parkin.
"This will build even more interest in the event. It's such a good investment in our community's future."
The chair of the Joint Venture Wellington Sevens Board, Avan Lee, says it is a very positive proposal.
"We look forward to working on this with our commercial partners and family of sponsors," says Mr Lee.
Wellington recently secured the rights to host the Sevens for the next five years.