RWC 2011: Rugby fans seeing red all over Northland
Story and Photo: www.rugbyworldcup.com
WHANGAREI, 7 Sept. - The colour red is ablaze among the tropical greenery of Northland as residents of New Zealand's most northerly region bedeck their streets with the national colours of Canada, Tonga and Japan to welcome the visiting Pool A teams.
“Paint it red”, Destination Northland's rugby slogan, is inspired by the common colours of the trio’s flags. Local businesses and residents have jumped upon the rosy bandwagon, hanging flags and jerseys.
“It’s been fantastic for the community up here,” said Sarah Greener, chairwoman of the local business association. “We’ve really taken the idea and just run with it."
Local councils have made their own contributions: the floodlights on Whangarei’s bridge have been changed to red, kilometres of “paint it red” bunting has been distributed, 15,000 red flowering plants have been potted and the Memorial Hall in Kaiwaka has been temporarily converted into the official ‘Northland welcome centre’, sporting a new coat of red paint.
Shane Hausman, an employee of the Capthorne Hotel, the Canadians' team base, has ordered a T-shirt from Hot Printz in Whangarei, who are doing a roaring trade with their “paint it red” T-shirts, having sold more than 600.
“We have had to do new printing runs every week," said manager Shane Hiria. "It has been huge, we are at the point where we can’t get all the stock - we’re selling them so quickly.”
Hausman can’t wait to put on his shirt and show his support for the campaign. “It’s been a big thing up here, we haven’t seen one of these before. We are really excited about seeing the teams just walking in the streets. It’s not like in the cities where you can’t get close to them like here.”