Hertz Sevens and Waitangi Day

30 January 2012

The Sevens and Waitangi Day fall on the same weekend this year - and that means even more people, fun and festivities in the capital.

Performers at last year's Waitangi Day celebrations

Performers at last year's Waitangi Day celebrations

The Hertz Sevens gets under way on Thursday as the 16 international teams parade through the city centre - followed on Friday and Saturday by the games at Westpac Stadium in front of 35,000 fans dressed in crazy costumes - and then we've got an impressive programme of events to mark our national day on Monday.

Waitangi Day

A special stage facing the lagoon next to the wharewaka Te Raukura will be set up for 6 February with free entertainment from 10.00am to 4.00pm. There will be stage performances (including cultural performances, reggae and country music) plus waka activity on the harbour.

Inside Te Raukura (the wharewaka) there will be storytelling by our library's staff, Māori and Kiwiana craft and other stalls. The cafe will also be open. On Odlins Plaza there will be a selection of food stalls - including a hangi. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Sir Ngatata Love will speak at the opening.

Hertz Sevens

This year we have 130 volunteers - all recruited from our pool of volunteers during Rugby World Cup 2011 - who will act as ambassadors for Wellington and help visitors from out of town. They will accompany 'walking buses' of fans from Odlins Plaza, along the waterfront to the stadium twice a day. The 'walking bus' will be led by the Wellington Batucada samba band.

Of course, with so many people in town, we will be closing some roads to ensure everyone can safely enjoy Wellington's nightlife after the rugby wraps up at the stadium.

Courtenay Place and some of the surrounding streets will be closed to traffic from Saturday 4 February at 5.00pm to Sunday 5 February at 6.00am. Buses and taxis will be re-routed during the closures.

There will, however, be vehicle access for residents who use off-street parking on the surrounding streets. To make things easier, it is helpful if you have some proof of residency.

If you are a resident in the affected areas and have a query, you can call (04) 499 4444.

The Council's Sports and Events Portfolio Leader, Councillor John Morrison, says the Sevens is about camaraderie, friends and having a great time.

"But we also don't want people to spoil the fun for everyone else so it's important to look after yourself and your mates," says Cr Morrison.

"We absolutely want people to have a good time but the 24-hour liquor ban in the central city still stands - so don't bring your own drinks along.

"There are plenty of places that serve alcohol in a safe, controlled environment. It's such a wonderful, fun atmosphere so there's no need to overdo it, that just ruins it for others."