Pretty, isn't it?If you didn’t fly down to Christchurch for the first test, don’t have tickets to the Wellington game (Saturday 2nd July) or can’t be doing with all those Aucklanders for the final test (Saturday 9th July) then how about these options.

Courtenay Place, “Party Zone”
Courtenay Place will be closed to traffic and transformed into an entertainment zone throughout the test match weekend, 1st – 3rd July. There will be live music and free performances.

Friday: 8pm-midnight

  • Deva Mahal
  • Ghostplane
  • Whopper Chopper Sound System

Saturday: noon-midnight

  • Game live on big screen!
  • Buskers all day
  • RNZAF Jazz Band
  • Wellington Pipe Band
  • Whopper Chopper Sound System
  • Batucada Band
  • plus OdESSA
  • The Reveals
  • Aviator … and more!

Road Closures
To accommodate the large crowds expected in the city and to ensure pedestrian safety, there will be several other streets closed as well – from 7.00pm Friday 1st July to 8.00am Sunday 3rd July – leave the car at home, use public transport instead.

  • Courtenay Place (Taranaki Street to Cambridge Terrace)
  • Tory Street (Wakefield Street to Tennyson Street)
  • Blair Street (all)
  • Allen Street (partial closure)

All businesses within the closure zone will be open for business as usual.

Michael Fowler Centre – FREE
Missed out on tickets to the Lions Wellington test? Don’t despair – get yourself tickets to the Big Screen Blackout – a free family event organised by Wellington City Council – and enjoy the test match live on the big screen.

Doors open at 5pm and the fun kicks off at 5.30pm at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday 2 July. Everyone through the doors between 5-6pm can enter to win four test match tickets. The winners will be announced at around 6.15pm and then chauffeured to Westpac Stadium in time for kick-off.

Entertainment includes Frankie Stevens as MC, and the Rollicks – a Rolling Stones tribute band to amuse the adults, and free face-painting and performers to amuse the kids. To help get people into test match fever the Michael Fowler Centre will be decked out in All Blacks colours and fun stadium foods, such as hot dogs, chips and popcorn will be available for purchase.

“We want to create a real sense of atmosphere as close to the Stadium experience as possible,” says City Council Event Co-ordinator Melody Scales. “We’re encouraging people to dress in black and be ready to cheer on our boys.”

Because the Big Screen Blackout is a family function no alcohol will be sold or allowed into the venue.

Free tickets are available at Ticketek (Michael Fowler Centre outlet only) from Monday 20th June. There is a limit of four tickets per person. Phone bookings will not be accepted. Around 2000 tickets are available.

“We’re expecting tickets to go fast,” says Ms Scales. “So people need to get a wriggle on if they don’t want to miss out.”

Bars in town
We at Wellingtonist Towers have been visiting a different bar for each of the provincial games – all in the service of our loyal readers you understand. Standout bars so far have been:

We urge you all to pass on your recommendations by leaving a comment to this posting.

Be aware that some bars have entry restrictions and the Barmy Army have nominated Loaded Hog, Black Harp and Hotel Bristol as their “HQs”.

Reading cinema
The following is taken from their ‘flyer’ at the front desk (Courtenay Central, Wellington) – minimum 10 tickets per group.

Option One – $8 per ticket
Deluxe mainstream seat / Foods and bar facilities by arrangement

Option Two – $20 per ticket
Regency Laz-Z-Boy Seat / Access to soft drink and popcorn self-service area / Food and bar facilities available

Available for the three tests with the Tri-Nations home games to be confirmed. More test dates possible – please enquire about screening other similar events. Contacts: John or Moana on 04-801 4602

At your own place – FREE
If you find the prospect of being surrounded by thousands of rugby fans all trying to get a view of the game there’s always your own place. Sky will have the game live with TV3 showing the excellent delayed coverage free-to-air.

Invite ya mates (maybe a few Poms for added spice), get the pizzas in the oven, pop open the beer/wine/OJ and settle back into the most comfortable chair in town – your own.

Wherever you do it just show your support – wear black and be loud!