Signs that Devonport is awakening to the opportunities of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) were evident today, when Community Coordinator Maire Vieth invited a number of the key players in Devonport to a networking meeting to discuss their plans.
Flying the flag the highest was the North Shore Rugby Club, which has a plethora of plans to promote the event in Devonport, and looks to be the centre of a considerable amount of activity that will occur in the area during the competition.
The club was “disappointed” by an article in The Flagstaff which had implied the club’s activities were limited to expensive dinners, as this was “most definitely not the case.”
Club representative Simon Gundry was at pains to emphasise that the club would be “open for free to everybody” during the campaign. “Everyone and anyone will be welcome down the club at any time” he stressed, with the club bar open most nights, the screening of live games, trivial pursuit evenings, golden oldie matches and training events with ex-All Blacks all being organised for community and tourists by the club.
The club is also planning a kids’ Rugby World Cup event similar to that run by the local cricket club in the school holidays, although this has yet to be fully confirmed.
Gundry also made a point of saying the club would not be “ripping off” anyone when staging its events, and that prices for food and drinks would not be any different from any other time of the year.
Gundry was hoping that the rest of the Devonport community would get behind the one-off event, and made a number of suggestions to the group, which included Eddie de Heer, President of the Devonport Business Association.
Gundry was keen to see local shops decorated in the colours of all the World Cup teams, perhaps with the aid of local schools, which could produce banners, murals, posters and flags. He also hoped the schools could organise a beach clean-up shortly before the RWC started and hoped that Devonport locals, cafes and restaurants would step up their hospitality for the inevitable influx of visitors.
DBA President Eddie de Heer was next up with the good news that Devonport had secured some funding from the council for a tidy-up. As previously reported, this will include funds for making repairs around Devonport, which will hopefully include a face lift for the Windsor Park and ferry building toilets, which the gathering agreed were in a parlous state.
De Heer also mentioned the DBA was planning a “Tidy Town” day; essentially a working bee for families to come enjoy a festive atmosphere in the town while helping clean up and decorate the centre in preparation for the thousands of expected additional visitors. Details are to be confirmed.
It was also suggested other clubs might like to participate in hosting events, given that sports such as tennis, bowling and petanque were popular in Europe. Any clubs that were interested in participating and coordinating their activities should contact Maire Vieth, Devonport Community Coordinator at 09 445 9533/ email@example.com /021 776 057
Let us know your thoughts on what Devonport should do for the Rugby World Cup.