Waka sailing in

by | Sep 9, 2011 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

It’s been a beautiful day in Auckland today and the big party to open the Rugby World Cup began on the waterfront at 4 pm. Bunting is hanging everywhere along the streets. This man was hanging out his flags, and feeling proud of the display. He waved when I took a photo.

Now I’m not a  rugby fan, but I do love a big cultural celebration. In the afternoon people were pouring down the streets towards the waterfront: whole families, with everyone dressed in black and silver to support the All Blacks. I didn’t feel like tackling the crush, but wanted to get a glimpse of the waka (canoes) coming in to the Viaduct Basin. By walking along to the outer edge of Westhaven marina, I hoped to see something – but this was the best I could do: just a view of all the boats that were sailing out to get a good look – and a helicopter filming from high overhead.

But I got a photo by pointing my camera at the TV once I got home. 600 Maori paddlers have been practising all year for this event. It takes muscle and co-ordination to paddle one of these big canoes. The paddlers did a great job, with their paddles flashing white and brown, depending on which paddle side they displayed.

Once they climbed on to land, they did a magnificent haka. People are still partying down there; the venue is tightly packed and many have been turned away. When nightfall comes, there will be fireworks.
Rugby fan or not, I feel proud to see my country put on such a fantastic celebration.


  1. Marja

    I feel the same. It must be a lot of fun down there. I saw the opening tonight. Very Impressive and I love all the flags. Love the waka’s. I have seen them coming in not far from Christchurch on Waitangi day.

  2. lifeonthecutoff

    Splendid! The flags are so colorful and what a magnificent celebration this must be, Juliet, and what a truly good feeling to have for your country. I wish I were there to help celebrate.

  3. Hilary

    Hi Juliet .. I saw the snippet on our tv news – the opening ceremony and the chants pre match by both Tonga and NZ .. heavy duty chaps!!

    Looks like NZ will be having a ball for the next 6 weeks .. cheers for now .. Hilary

  4. Lynley

    I’m not a great rugby fan either but there is a different buzz of energy around here now with the RWC beginning.
    It has been a very solid time in our wee country in the past two or three years so a pleasant, celebratory distraction is welcome.
    The opening festivities were spectacular.

  5. juliet

    Thanks everyone; nice to have you joining in the celebrations from far and near.


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