Are we excited yet?

31/08/2011

Exciting events to look forward to used to be few and far between – just Christmas, birthdays,  and the odd holiday or other special occasion.

Now we’re spoilt for choice. That makes it more difficult for anyone promoting anything to get our attention – and commitment – until the last moment.

This is possibly why the International Rugby Borad chief executive Mike Miller is concerned that New Zealanders don’t realise the importance of the Rugby World Cup.

I’m not among the critics of the Rugby World Cup but even so it hasn’t really been on my radar. We’ve bought tickets for one game and been invited to another but they’ve yet to register as much more than dates in a diary.

However, in the last week I’ve become aware of increasing excitement and not just among people who are interested in the rugby.

The radio was tuned to a sports talk show when I got into the car on Sunday and I heard a caller getting excited about the RWC because it meant Janet Frame’s house in Oamaru would be open.  They’ve even produced special book marks to give visitors.

What’s more Murray Deaker was excited in response.

Who would have thought that sport and literature could mix?

They’re all part of the Real New Zealand Festival which includes events as diverse as a special  Oyster Festival in Bluff and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Odes to Joy in Christchurch.

There will also be some rugby. The Fijian team is the first foreign one to arrive and when I saw them and the enthusiasm of the people welcoming them I began to realise just what is in store in the next few weeks.

There’s going to be a party, and whether it’s rugby, literature, oysters, music or any of the other dozens of events, it’s something to celebrate and get excited about.


Loosen up and prepare to party

25/08/2011

Listen up and loosen up New Zealand.

It’s time to stop whinging about the Rugby World Cup.

You don’t have to understand or even enjoy the sport because it’s not just about the games.

It’s a party, we’re the hosts, we’ve invited visitors, and good manners require us to make them welcome.

We should be doing everything we can to ensure they have a good time and how can we do that if we’re not having a good time too?

Lots of people and communities are doing their best in spite of the doomsayers.

A wee cafe in Riverton has a notice on its wall inviting locals to get into the spirit for the Scottish visitors they’re expecting when Colac Bay hosts its first rugby international against Scotland supporters.

Oamaru is hosting a Golden Oldies tournament. It opens with the Bog Rock Music Fest featuring The Feelers,  The Beat Girls, X Factor, The Black Velvet Band and the Winner of The Classic Hits Idol Competition.

The Real New Zealand Festival has dozens of  other events that celebrate our art, culture, food and wine, history, sport and everything else we love about our country.

The sponsors have mucked up but that’s no excuse for the rest of us to be negative.

Still not convinced? Then read how Half Pie learned to stop worrying and enjoy the RWC.

When you’ve done that, take a deep breath, accept it’s our party and it will be so much better if we all lighten up and enjoy it.


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