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Fan Zones to be Set Up in Auckland for Rugby World Cup 2011

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Rugby fans keen to keep track of the live action during the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, will have plenty of options in Auckland with four official Ďfan zonesí covering the north, south, east and west of the region.

In addition to the central city site at Queens Wharf, there will also be official fan zones at Albany on Aucklandís North Shore, Henderson to the west of the city and Manukau to the south.

The sites will provide enthusiasts without match tickets the chance to be part of the live action and with a family-friendly, festival focus.

RWC 2011 Auckland Regional Steering Group chair Rachael Dacy, said fan zones had become an integral part of large global sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games and were extremely popular with locals and visitors.

With matches happening all over the country, Dacy said the fan zones would provide an opportunity for all visitors and Aucklanders to be part of the action, not just those with rugby match tickets.

"Aucklandís fan zones will create a festival atmosphere and would feature family events as well as licensed areas," said Dacy. "As well as the RWC 2011 matches on big screens the fan zones will feature live entertainment, opportunities to showcase New Zealand food, culture and music, visitor information and official RWC 2011 merchandise."

Aucklandís fan zones will range in size from Queens Wharf, which will be open every day of the six-week tournament and is capable of hosting up to 20,000 people, to smaller sites open on selected days with capacities of up to 5000 people.

The Queens Wharf fan zone will be the focus of a public celebration on opening night - 9 September 2011 - and a wide variety of festival activity throughout the tournament.

Albanyís Civic Lakes fan zone will cater for up to 10,000 fans in two areas - one licensed area and one family friendly area with activities for children. It will also feature a floating screen on one of the lakes.

The Trusts Stadium in Waitakere to the west, and Manukauís Pacific Events Centre in the south will be home to indoor fan zones complete with big screen action, entertainment and food and beverage areas. The Trusts Stadium will cater for up to 7000 people, while the Pacific Events Centre will have a capacity of up to 8000.

As well as the four official fan zones, there will be festival sites in Pakuranga and Papakura in South Auckland, and in several parts of Rodney District to the north of Auckland.

Other festival events throughout the region will include the Diwali Festival of Lights in Aucklandís newly revamped Aotea Square, the Auckland Heritage Festival and the Manukau Festival of Arts.

"Put all this together and Aucklandís fan zones and festival programme offers activity from Warkworth in the north to Papakura in the south. We are looking to create something for everybody that is easily accessible for all," Dacy added.

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