Sevens to stay in Wellington

March 28th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Sevens rugby is to stay in Wellington, with the capital the only city serious about hosting the colourful sporting spectacular.

Wellington has won the event at a cut cost against scant opposition, sources say.

No contracts have been signed but, following detailed board room discussion, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is expected to confirm on Thursday the event will remain in the capital for the next couple of years.

I’m glad. Now the challenge is to make it fun again.

A combination of factors, including waning interest and a crackdown on intoxication which led to breath-testing complaints, has turned punters off the event in recent times.

New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association chief executive Rob Nichol is confident the event can be a success.

“We all know for various reasons and pressures there’s been a move towards a more responsible pitch of the tournament where there is the opportunity to go and have your party, but there has to be certain levels of responsibility met,” Nichol said.

Breath testing people at a sports game is just nuts,and if they keep that up, it will die.

Why the Sevens are dying

February 2nd, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Westpac Stadium’s boss is defending the enforcement of drinking rules at this year’s rugby sevens, after claims security was heavy-handed.

Some of a group attending yesterday’s first day were turned away at the gate by security staff, after they were breath-tested.

They’re breath-testing people coming into the stadium. And you wonder why no one wants to go. It used to be fun.

Stuff also reports:

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the weekend’s event had been “excellent”, and she judged the increased family focus a success.

Organisers had tried to boost crowd numbers by moving the event to earlier in the year, offering cut-price tickets and incentives for families to bring children, she said.

Bringing kids?? It’s a two day event. I doubt many parents want to have tired and grumpy kids with them at the Sevens.


The Sevens is dying, and it is self-inflicted. What was a legendary Wellington event has been killed by the fun police.

Now giving away Sevens tickets

January 28th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Wellington bar is giving away tickets to this weekend’s Wellington Sevens, but only to people who buy a certain beer. 

Backbencher’s managing director Alistair Boyce said the bar was given 20 tickets by the Hospitality Association last Friday.

He wasn’t sure what to do with them, so decided to give them away to people who bought an Emerson’s beer. 

Not that long ago all 30,000 tickets or so sold out within three minutes. Today they can only fill quarter to a third of the stadium and are giving tickets away.

This is what happens when the powers that be decide that the event needs to be less fun and more family focused.

Why are the Sevens dying?

December 24th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Wellington Sevens seem to be dying.

I recall the days when the tickets sold out in three minutes. The Internet would freeze as Wellingtonians tried to be one of the lucky ones to buy their tickets online. There would be dozens of people queued up outside Post Offices and the like, to buy tickets.

Now the stadium barely gets half full. Even with three months of selling tickets, and huge price drops, less people want to go.

The question is why?

One reader e-mails:

For me the 7s died the day they banned Borat.  It’s essentially been killed by the thought police, rules, regulations and a general ‘we know better’ attitude.  Not to mention the extortionate beer prices and disgusting overpriced food.  Why would anyone want to attend?

What do you think?

Are the Sevens losing its appeal?

February 4th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Going cheap – a ticket to the Wellington Sevens (costume not included).

With four days to go, the rugby tournament has not sold out – and bargains are available as many fans try to offload spare tickets at well below cost price.

Increased competition from the likes of the newly established Auckland Nines – to be held at a sold out Eden Park the following weekend – has led to a fall in demand this year.

In previous years, tickets to the annual sevens tournament have sold out in a matter of hours, with scalpers able to command inflated prices to those who missed out. …

Sevens Wellington general manager Marty Donoghue said only about 1750 tickets remained, and they would be sold by Friday.

That’s astonishing. I recall some years the tickets all going within 20 minutes or so. To have almost 2,000 unsold the week before the Sevens suggests that demand is greatly reduced.

I’m still a big fan, and would go if I could. However I’m tramping the Tongariro Northern Circuit this weekend. Incidentally that means there will be little blogging from Thursday to Sunday.

The Wellington Sevens

December 6th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Sevens fans oblivious to the sport being played on the field need to start paying attention as organisers look to “transform” Wellington’s biggest party and make it more Olympic.

The centrepiece of Wellington’s sports and events calendar needed to change ahead of the rugby code’s debut at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, general manager Marty Donoghue told a Wellington City Council committee yesterday.

“We’re at a point when we need to transform.”

That move is being supported by veteran rugby commentator Keith Quinn, who says the party has overtaken the tournament.

After the meeting, Mr Donoghue – who has spent just three weeks in the tournament’s top job – said the idea was to still have the party and costumes but to put more emphasis on rugby.

A worthy aim, but good luck with that.

Increasing the rugby and family zones was a way to enhance the sport aspect, and potentially attract new audiences.

One small problem with that.

The family and rugby zones were both used at this year’s tournament, and tickets for the 2014 event have been the first in years not to sell out within minutes, with about 3000 still available yesterday.

No one wants to be in the nana section.

The move to focus on sport was backed by Quinn, who ranked the Hong Kong and Dubai events ahead of Wellington’s because they focused more on the rugby.

“The Wellington Sevens is very good, but it’s at its best on a sunny day on the second afternoon, when the crowd finally does focus in on the last stage of the semifinals and the various finals . . . Sometimes I have felt that the party has distracted the crowd from the event, the sports event.”

I think many who attend have the view that the rugby distracts the crowd from the party.

Most stupid idea this year

September 20th, 2012 at 2:48 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

There are moves underway to clean up the Wellington Sevens, now that it’s an Olympic sport.

The Wellington leg of the international tournament has gained a reputation as being a non-stop party, with dozens of arrests often taking place for drunken behaviour.

General manager Steve Walters says they’ve been surveying the rugby community as to whether they think limiting alcohol, or introducing a ‘dry zone’ for part of the first day, is a good idea.

An alcohol free Sevens – yeah right. All that would happen is no one would buy tickets for the actual games, still dress up in costumes, get drunk in town and watch it on screens at the bars.

If they have an alcohol free zone at the Sevens, they won’t need more than 20 seats or so.

A Sevens brunch

February 5th, 2012 at 9:11 am by David Farrar

Post Day One Sevens brunch for our group. Very good at soaking up the alcohol.

Day Two was great. I was convinced New Zealand would lose after their semi-final vs England, where they played awfully. And Fiji was very impressive in their semi-final.

But my God, what a final. I can’t recall seeing a better performance from the NZ Sevens team. Four tries in the first half. And it wasn’t that Fiji were playing awfully – more NZ was playing very very well. The Fijians got quite bad tempered as the game went on – I don’t think they are used to being thrashed.

So a great finish to a very fun tournament. The only downside for the girls is that the Ultimate Warrior never turned up again. One of them spent most of the day looking for him!

Sevens stories

February 4th, 2012 at 9:18 am by David Farrar

First day of the Sevens was lots of fun. As always I’m amazed by how creative some of the costumes are, and the sheer variety of them. It did make me think what it would be like if one year everyone was urged to come in the same costume – say as blue smurfs. A stadium of 35,000 cheering blue smurfs would look amazing. On the other hand, one would find it damn hard recognizing your friends, and there must be a good chance a fair number of people would go home with a stranger whom they thought was someone else!

The rugby side (yes I do actually go for the rugby) was good. Canada beating France was excellent, as was Tonga beating Fiji. South Africa playing quite well and beat England and NZ looking good in their three victories, but not unbeatable by any stretch.

Anyway two amusing stories. The first is of how not to pick up a girl.

A guy in a duff beer outfit is cavorting in the aisle and then sits down in the aisle next to one of our group (Anna). He doesn’t speak to her, just sits there for half an hour, occasionally smiling at her. We are having fun teasing her that she has picked up a friend. Then after half an hour of sitting there saying nothing he asks “So you’ll be going home soon”. As it was 9 pm or so, Anna answers “yes”. He then goes “So I’ll come with you then”.

Well you have to give some marks for the direct approach!

The other incident happened soon after that. A young guy (aged 21) dressed or undressed as the Ultimate Warrior came up. He was basically naked apart from his underpants/wrestling shorts. He very generously lowered himself over a couple of the girls and umm shook his booty in front of them. The girls were not objecting too greatly I must say (probably helped by the fact he did have a wrestler’s physique) and I was having great fun urging him to make sure none of the girls on our group missed out.

But as I was urging him on, he looks up from being draped over Kirsti and Anna and goes “You’re David Farrier*, I love your blog”. In fact he loved my blog so much, he insisted on also shaking his booty over me – to the extremely great amusement of the girls in the group, who I think now believe in karma.

Some very unfortunate photos were snapped on iphones, and my KiwiSaver savings are going to have to be raided to ensure sufficient bribes to stop them ever being published!

Anyway heading back in around 1 pm. Here’s hoping for a New Zealand win!

* People would be amazed how often people either get my surname confused with TV3’s David Farrier, or even mix the two of us up (as in I give them my name, and they say oh yes you’re that funny guy on Nightline).

UPDATE: Kirsti has provided this photo of the Warrior.

Prizes for best costumes

February 7th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Tom Hunt in the Dom Post reports:

Now there’s another reason to get dressed up for next year’s NZI Sevens – a proposed $50,000 prize pool for the best dressed.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is calling on business leaders to contribute to the pool, with Museum Hotel owner Chris Parkin already pitching in $5000.

“The fans bring so much energy, colour and fun into the city,” Ms Wade-Brown said.

“They volunteer their time and creativity and the result is marvellous costumes and a carnival atmosphere that adds considerable value to Wellington’s brand, so I think it’s time we recognised the contribution of the fans.”

Mr Parkin said though it was too early to say how the prizes would be divided, he imagined the first prize would be about $10,000.

That’s a great idea. If they announced the winners just before the cup final, it would give the stadiuma a huge buzz. And a great incentives for people to stay fun and creative.

Sevens Photos

February 5th, 2011 at 8:40 am by David Farrar

Stuff has 62 photos here. Some of the costumes I like best are below:

Very cool butterfly costumes.

Very original.

One has to be hot in those costumes.

I think the Aussies have invaded.

Scoop also has some great photos – Part I and Part II and Part III and Part IV.

Some angels

and devils to counter the angels

And the NZ Herald also has a collection of 39 photos.

Trish and the Gingerbread Men.

Labour are spamming

April 6th, 2010 at 3:10 pm by David Farrar

I have had this confirmed from two independent sources now, so it is not a mistake -Labour are spamming people.

Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson has a petition to Keep the Sevens in Wellington. You are required to provide an e-mail address to sign it. There is no privacy statement associated with the petition.

Some time after you sign this, my reader complained to me that he had received an e-mail from Grant Robertson. I investigated that e-mail, and actually concluded that it was not spam. It acknowldged signing the petition, encouraged the signer to promote the petition to other people and also said:

Also, if you want to keep up with other issues and events in Wellington Central, you are more than welcome to join my main mailing list here:

Now my response to the reader was that this was not spam. A one off response, linked to the petition I deemed appropriate, and it merely offered the opportunity to go on Grant’s main mailing list.

However on the 26th of March, the petition signer got another e-mail. This one was not from Grant Robertson and not about the Sevens.

It was from Chris Flatt, the Labour Party General Secretary, and all about mining. An extract:

Stop John Key’s plan to mine our National Parks
Last year the National Government announced it would review Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act. That might sound innocuous. But it’s the first step towards the devastation of our National Parks by commercial miners. …

Campaigns cost money

Can you spare $20 to help fund resources for this campaign, please?  I assure you it will be put to good use fighting National’s plans to mine our precious conservation estates.

You can make a secure donation now. Please visit:

Let’s get going!

Chris Flatt – Labour Party General Secretary

Now my reader is absolutely 100% clear that he did not ask to be placed on the Labour Party mailing list. The only way they have his e-mail is from the petition.

So what has happened, is that all the good citizens of Wellington who signed the petition to save the sevens, have been added onto the central e-mail database for the Labour Party.

In terms of what Internet users define as spam, this is definitely spam. Labour are spamming people who have not consented, and they should stop this practice immediately.

Grant’s practice of a singular e-mail acknowledging their petition, and offering the chance to subscribe is an acceptable practice. But Grant, or someone in his office, has obviously passed on all those e-mail addresses to Labour Head Office, even if they did not take up the offer to join a mailing list.

So be warned. If you sign a petition promoted by a Labour MP, you may end up being spammed by them.

I’ve considered whether Labour have broken the law on this. The law only makes it an offence to send commercial unsolicited e-mails. Now Labour are soliciting money, which could be seen as commercial, but the Act has a narrow definition which is basically promoting goods, services, land or a business opportunity.

So it is not against the law, but it is spam, and probably against the terms and conditions of the ISP that Labour use.

As I said, I hope Labour will publicly state they will not spam people in future, and explain why they did so on this occasion.

UPDATE: Labour Party General Secretary has e-mailed a response:

In response to your post, we apologise unreservedly to those who received the mining email as a result of signing the sevens petition. This happened because the bulk email tool that the Party uses is also used by Labour MPs for other purposes, such as Grant emailing people to update them on progress with the sevens petition.

A staff member used the database of signatories without Grant’s knowledge or approval. This is highly regrettable and I can assure you and other readers that it will not happen again.

Good to hear it was an error by a staff member, and not deliberate.

Why the Sevens will stay in Wellington

February 7th, 2010 at 11:40 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post is worried:

The vultures are circling. As the Wellington sevens kicked off in bright sunshine yesterday (is it ever any different in the capital?) word emerged that both Auckland and Dunedin are contemplating bids for host rights to the New Zealand leg of the international sevens circuit when it comes up for grabs again in 2012.

I don’t think there is any need to worry.

The Sevens won’t go to Auckland for two reasons:

  1. No one will turn up
  2. No one will notice they are on

Auckland is notoriously unreliable when it comes to attending sporting events. And the Sevens are more than a sporting event – they are a two day festival, and part of the festival is seeing people all through town in their costumes. You won’t in Auckland.

As for Dunedin, you have to be crazy to hodl the Sevens in Dunedin.

In one sense Dunedin would be a great venue. The venue would sell out easily, and the locals would definitely love dressing up and attending. It could almost do as well as Wellington.

But the problem is that half of Dunedin would get burnt to the ground, as the cost of hosting it.

Students (and others) in Dunedin start burning couches and generally rioting after just a couple of hours of drinking. You’d have to be mad to want to host a game which is basically two days of non-stop drinking rugby.

Can you imagine 25,000 students and others pouring out of the stadium after NZ wins (or loses) the Sevens. George Street would disappear in the rioting.

Avatars at the Sevens

February 5th, 2010 at 4:07 pm by David Farrar

Couldn’t get a close up, but these guys and gals have done a great job with their Avatar costumes.

Dom Post also has photos here.

That’s a great costume, captured by the Dom Post.

I suspect Cops quite enjoy being scheduled on for Sevens duty!

The NZ Herald also has photos here. Also here.

A Herald photo. Very cool costumes that probably were quite easy to do.

Also Scoop has photos.

Being a Sevens photographer must be a fun job!

Final set of Sevens photos

February 11th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Scoop put up on Monday its Sevens photos – here, here and here. Some favourites below:


Pure in white.


The Punishers!


They should have won a prize!


I thought I saw a ….


So where’s Tarzan?

Sevens photos

February 6th, 2009 at 2:13 pm by David Farrar

Lot of photos in different places. First we have the NZ Herald. They have a 13 cool photos, including this one below:


That is a great set of costumes, and quite easy to do.

Then the Dom Post has a collection of 29 photos, with several excellent ones below:


Even the shoes match!


They must be Irish!

Also the Dom Post has a story and photo of the Watt Family, who are regulat attendees, headed up by their 71 year old patriarch.


Scoop also has some photos of the parade yesterday. They normally have photos from the event itself, and I’ll link to them when they do.

Rugby Sevens

September 18th, 2008 at 8:18 am by David Farrar

Damn. The Sevens tickets sold out in 10 minutes.

If at any stage someone has tickets they can not use, feel free to e-mail me. Looking for two or four tickets. I won’t pay scalper prices but I will pay a reasonable price.