Thursday parade to kick off 2015 Sevens party

4 February 2015

A street parade through the central city tomorrow (Thursday 5 February) will celebrate the start of Sevens mania as teams prepare to go head to head in the Wellington Sevens tournament this Waitangi weekend.

Sevens fans.

Rugby fans all dressed up at the Sevens

The 16 international teams will parade along with a colourful assortment of performers ranging from batucada drummers and French mimes to gumboot dancers and, in a nod to the 15-year history of the tournament, a group of cheesy Austin Powers dancers.

Thousands of glammed-up and dressed-up fans are expected to attend the annual two-day tournament on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 February at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington Deputy Mayor Justin Lester is looking forward to the big weekend. “Everyone loves the Sevens weekend - it’s a potent mix of fast-moving rugby action, fans, fashion and fantasy, and the excitement filters right across the city. 

“The central city is dressed, the teams are out and about in the city and hotels and the Stadium have come to the party by waving surcharges on food and drinks on Waitangi Day.”

The parade starts at the Ballance Street intersection at the north end of Lambton Quay at 12.45pm, moving along Lambton Quay and Willis Street before ending at Civic Square with a civic reception.

All 16 teams will travel on floats through the streets. Most will be accompanied by cultural entertainers associated with their nations.

Sevens General Manager Steve Dunbar the parade and civic welcome are chances for the public to see the athletes up close before the frenzy of the competition starts and spectators should secure their vantage spot early.

“The parade will bring the sights, sounds and the madcap stadium atmosphere to the streets. We’re encouraging all Wellingtonians to come along and welcome the international teams to our fantastic city.”

To allow the parade to take place there will be a rolling road closure undertaken by Police parade escorts.  Motorists and bus passengers along Willis Street and Lambton Quay should expect some delays while the parade is on.

Sevens fans who want to join the teams in Civic Square should enter the square via Harris Street, the City to Sea Bridge or from Wakefield Street – the continuing demolition of the Portico building means the entrance off Victoria Street at the Mercer Street intersection cannot be used for access.

Wellington Sevens tickets are $149 for two days and available at Ticketek.co.nz