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New Zealand to Open Giant Rugby Ball on Sydney’s Waterfront

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Send to Friend ASIA Travel Latest Travel News Tuesday, 31 August 2010

New Zealand’s Giant Rugby Ball will open its doors in Sydney on Thursday, 2 September 2010, marking the start of the ball’s final international appearance promoting the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The distinctive white ball - a Kiwi-made 25-metre-long, 13-metre-high giant inflatable venue - is already in place, stamping the 100% Pure New Zealand branding on Circular Quay, and all within view of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Inside the ball final preparations are underway as the venue readies for the official opening - a dawn ceremony attended by the Māori King - Kiingi Tuheitia Paki, and Australian and New Zealand dignitaries including Aboriginal and Māori elders.

Thursday morning’s opening will include an historic ceremonial meeting between the Aboriginal people of Australia and New Zealand’s Māori people, which is expected to provide a rare spectacle for guests and any passing Sydney commuters.

In response to a traditional Aboriginal ‘Welcome to Country’, the Māori people of New Zealand will offer a ‘pōwhiri’ welcome inviting the ‘manuhiri’ / Aboriginal people onto their own ‘marae’ meeting place.

Once the Māori ceremony is over, the ‘visitors’ will be welcomed into the ‘rugby ball’ as their own - no longer visitors but part of the family, in the true spirit of manaakitanga or Māori hospitality.

"The ball and surrounding activities will present New Zealand as an exciting holiday destination for Australians, both now and in 2011, and showcase a range of experiences that visitors to New Zealand can enjoy," said Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler.

The New Zealand Government has estimated that around 21,000 Australians will visit New Zealand for RWC, which will kick off in just over one year’s time.

Open to the Public

The giant rugby ball - which takes five days to construct - will open to the public on Friday, 3 September 2010, and will remain open until 12 September 2010.

The venue can accommodate 220 people, and about 18,000 visitors are expected to pass through the ball’s doors while it’s in Sydney.

Daytime visitors will be entertained with music and culture - providing a glimpse of the nationwide festival that will run throughout New Zealand during Rugby World Cup 2011, and at night the ball’s exterior will feature a lighting show.

Inside the ball, guests will be virtually transported to New Zealand through a 10-minute 360-degree multimedia experience - showcasing New Zealand’s heritage, culture and people, and featuring visual arts, music and theatre.

The giant rugby ball will be open daily from mid-morning. Entry is free and members of the public can visit any time, or join the priority queue by pre-booking online.

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