Prime Minister Helen Clark in front of the Rugby Ball Venue, Paris, France for the Dawn Blessing Prime Minister Helen Clark in front of the Rugby Ball Venue, Paris, France for the Dawn Blessing CREDIT: The Beehive

Rugby World Cup promotion lands in UK

Saturday 5 July 2008, 6:51PM
By Rt. Hon Helen Clark

New Zealand’s giant inflatable Rugby Ball Venue will make its second international appearance, in front of London’s Tower Bridge in November, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced yesterday.

"The 12-metre high and 25-metre long inflatable structure will stand in front of the iconic Tower Bridge from 25 November to 2 December," Helen Clark said.

"The event has been timed to coincide with the All Blacks Grand Slam Tour of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and with the All Blacks playing England at Twickenham on 29 November.

"It will also mark the end of a major new Tourism New Zealand tactical marketing campaign being launched in September and running through to the end of November.

"The Ball is a fine example of New Zealand’s innovation and creativity. The Ball was a bold idea and the audio visual display is truly world-leading.

Though led by Tourism New Zealand, the project is a cross-Government initiative, involving New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the Department of Labour, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

"Our historic links means the UK remains a major trading partner for New Zealand in the areas of trade, tourism, culture and immigration.

"The Rugby Ball Venue will be used to promote New Zealand as a place to live, invest in, do business with and, of course, visit - both now and in the lead up to 2011 when New Zealand hosts the next Rugby World Cup," Helen Clark said.

During the day, the Rugby Ball will be open to the public, promoting New Zealand tourism, trade, culture, and lifestyle, food, wine, and technology.

In the evenings, it will become the hub for New Zealand-hosted events, exhibitions, big screen viewing, functions and meetings, taking the best of NZ Inc. to the world.

The venue is able to host corporate functions, public exhibitions, and promote New Zealand culture and Rugby World Cup Minister Clayton Cosgrove said it will be a giant, interactive billboard for New Zealand in the run up to 2011.

"We can’t underestimate importance to New Zealand of hosting the Rugby World Cup. It will be our biggest sporting event ever, propelling New Zealand into the homes of up to four billion people around the world and bringing tens of thousands more visitors to our shores," Clayton Cosgrove said.

"It has been forecast to contribute around $500 million to the New Zealand.
It’s an opportunity to show off our best in business, art and culture. It’s an opportunity to engage communities, and to promote New Zealand as a vibrant, innovative and contemporary country," Clayton Cosgrove said.

Tourism Minister Damien O’Connor says evaluation of the ball’s deployment in Paris showed the venue was a great way to attract big attention to a small country.

"Tourism New Zealand figures showed that almost 138 million people saw or heard about the Ball and New Zealand when it was in Paris, either in person or through television, newspaper articles or online coverage."

"The event in London will be another chance to promote New Zealand to the world, as a vibrant, innovative and contemporary country. A place to visit, live and invest in and do business with, both now and in the build up to 2011," Damien O’Connor said.