Monday, October 24
The waiting’s over and the New Zealand All Blacks are rugby world champions after a nail-biting final.
Rarotonga has been showing its support of the team since the start of the cup with shops and businesses decked out in black and white, but once they made it through to the final somebody suggested a fan zone similar, to Auckland’s Cloud, where people could get together and see all the action on the big screen.
The idea just took off! The NZ High Comm, ANZ Bank and many other businesses got in behind it and in just a week our own All Blacks family-friendly fanzone, dubbed ‘Te Aorangi Black Out’, was up and running.
It was alcohol-free with plenty of food stalls, always popular at an event like this, and lots of activities for kids of all ages.
The All Blacks were overwhelming favourites to win but the local French community, although it isn’t large, made their presence felt with a popular face-painting stall.
Kids spent a most of the time running around, screaming, singing and chasing lollies until it was time for the main pre-game show – the haka competition. Large teams from St Joseph’s, Avatea and Avarua primary schools and a small group from Rutaki strutted their stuff on the stage at the National Auditorium then a bunch of older guys from the Tupapa Panthers joined in. The audience loved it.
By the time the big game started on a very big screen, I reckon most of the kids would have exhausted themselves and fallen asleep.
I have to confess I headed home at this point and watched it on a much smaller screen in the comfort of my living room.
It was tough going for the spectators. The French played their best game of the tournament and the ABs really had to fight for the win but thank goodness they made it in the end.
If they hadn't the air of national mourning over NZ and Rarotonga would have been hard to bear!