News | 3 June 2016

Wellington welcomes The Lions – only one year to go!

Wellington is thrilled to be hosting two back-to-back British and Irish Lions rugby matches and a legion of fans during the New Zealand Lions Series 2017, says Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

Mayor Wade-Brown was presented with special Match Day Taiaha Trophy – one of seven custom-made taiaha players will be vying for –  at today’s NZ Rugby Football Union ‘one year to go’ ceremony at Auckland’s Eden Park.

“It was an honour to be presented with the new taiaha-inspired series trophy today –  the Lions visit will be a colossal week for rugby in the Capital,” she says.

Wellington gets a major share of next year’s series with the Lions set down to play the Hurricanes on Tuesday 27 June at Westpac Stadium followed by the All Blacks – Lions Test match on Saturday 1 July.

“Thousands of Lions fans from around the world are expected to stay in Wellington over the week the two games are played in the city,” she says. “With so much to do and see in our cool capital, these fans will provide a massive boost to our economy and become new Capital Ambassadors.”

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency Chief Executive, Chris Whelan, says the economic benefits for the Wellington region of the Series will be significant, and multifaceted. 

“The estimated $25 million in direct spending over the week the Lions are in town is just one dimension of the economic opportunity the series will provide for Wellington,” he says.

“Positive Wellington recommendations shared by some 20,000 travelling fans with their friends and family in the UK will be incredibly valuable in terms of promotion. 

“Wellington will deliver an exceptional event destination experience and we’ll be working across business, government and the community, to ensure Lions fans are converted into passionate Wellington ambassadors. 

“We’re also working closely with business and government agencies to leverage trade and hosting opportunities to maximise the benefit to Wellington from such a major international sporting event. 

“The All Blacks will be ready to meet the Lions’ challenge next June and so will Wellington,” he says.