A roaring success: The Lions in Rotorua

PRESS RELEASE: Rotorua Lakes Council

The excitement of the DHL NZ Lions Series isn’t quite over for Rotorua with many visitors expected to return to the district during the coming weeks.

Saturday night’s game at Rotorua International Stadium was a huge success with a sell-out crowd of 28,177 people with sales figures showing that about 95% of ticket buyers were from outside the Rotorua region.

The Rotorua Fan Zone was well attended with approximately 500 people turning up to watch the game live on the big screens at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.
The British & Irish Lions will now move on to Hamilton to play the Chiefs on Tuesday (20 June) before getting ready for the three test games of the series against the All Blacks.

Fans following the tour, especially those travelling in motorhomes, are expected to visit Rotorua again between the tests in Auckland on 24 June, Wellington on 1 July and Auckland on 8 July.

Rotorua Lakes Council Major Events Coordinator Martin Croft says Rotorua really turned it on for the fans.

“We had events all week during the lead-up which were really well attended by both locals and fans from around the country and overseas. The Giant Haka yesterday was a huge success and everyone was really hyped up and ready for the game.

“Town has had a real festival atmosphere and our residents have shown the visitors that traditional spirit of manaakitanga which was our key objective since the Rotorua fixture was announced last year.”

The British & Irish Lions tour New Zealand every 12 years so it will be more than a decade before the people of Rotorua have the opportunity to be part of a Lions tour again.

Since rugby became professional Rotorua has been involved in two Lions tours and a Rugby World Cup and Mayor Steve Chadwick says it’s a credit to the whole community that the district is seen as a great place for hosting during these big occasions, says Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick.

“We want to remain a relevant contender for these types of events in future and that’s something we need to keep building on to remain front of mind with event owners and organisers.

“It’s been a fantastic occasion and I’m immensely proud of Rotorua and the true spirit of manaakitanga [hospitality] I saw, with everyone coming together to enjoy the events and the game and give all our visitors a great experience,” the mayor says.

Fans can continue their rugby experience by visiting the Tīma Tāngata Māori All Blacks exhibition which will be on display at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre until Friday 23 June.

Walk through more than 100 years of Māori rugby history and read the stories of iconic greats including locals Matt Te Pou and Hika Reid.

The exhibition is open daily from 9am to 4pm. Entry by gold coin for adults and free for children.

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