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Ooh la la – All Blacks test with France packs an economic punch

15 Jun 2018

The All Blacks-France rugby test in Wellington on Saturday (16 June) will pack an economic punch of around $7 million to the regional economy.

The Westpac Stadium test is expected to sell-out, with around 32 per cent of tickets being sold outside the Wellington region.

Chris Wilkinson from First Retail Group says the French test weekend has been eagerly awaited by the retail and hospitality sectors.

“Past events of this scale and profile have attracted large numbers of individuals and groups eager to spend on clothing, food and entertainment and other products. We are expecting a busy Friday, Saturday and Sunday as visitors enjoy all that the capital has to offer.”

WREDA’s Partnership and Events General Manager Warrick Dent says rugby fans and locals will have a ball in Wellington over test weekend.

“The French are just like Wellingtonians in that they intrinsically understand the culture of a city like Wellington which is packed with great dining experiences, events and festivals.

“Wellington’s offering of a sophisticated, walkable visitor experience is unlike anything offered in other major New Zealand cities. It’s something that characterises the Wellington event experience.”

Touring French fans – alongside those with a love of all things French – can relax in the knowledge that it’s unlikely they’ll suffer a bout of les Bleus homesickness while in the Capital.

The Odlins Plaza on the waterfront is set to become Wellington’s French quarter with two marquees erected in Le French Village to host a two-day French market on 16-17 June with   stalls featuring French culture, food, music, fashion and wine.

The market will be transformed into a French Fan Zone to screen the All Blacks v France game live on 16 June at 7.35pm, followed by the FIFA World Cup group pool match between France and Australia at 10pm.

Le French Village is launched on 14 June with One Night in France -  a five-course meal for 520 pre-booked gastronomes. Keeping with the French theme, diners will dress in red, white, or blue, depending on where they choose to sit.

On Friday 15 June, Wellington City Council’s Matariki celebrations kick off in Civic Square at 5.35pm with ReCut 5, a song, dance and visual extravaganza with a strong Wellington flavour.

This is followed at 7.30pm by Te Papa’s Matariki Ritual when a ritual fire is lit, stories of renewal are told, and the start of a new year is celebrated.

Those attending the test at Westpac Stadium will be treated to a light show along the Fran Wilde Walkway featuring a “Cathedral” effect of light beams, coming from 24 light units along the concourse.

Another special treat on test match day at Westpac Stadium is a smoked pork burger – created with input from former All Black Piri Weepu and aptly called Piri’s Burger – to be made by the stadium’s new caterers Delaware North.

They expect hungry punters to gobble 1100 burgers, containing around 400 kilograms of New Zealand pork.  The pork is seasoned with a special spice mix, smoked for 12-15 hours, and braised in its own liquor. The Scorcher sauce and BBQ sauce used are crafted in-house using horopito and a range of other Kiwi produce.