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Wednesday, 22 May 2019 04:51 am

Few arrests as city turns into super Sevens party

Party 1THE heart of the city was transformed on Saturday night as the super sevens carnival hit town and streets were blocked off for Wellington’s party of the year.

More than 73, 000 people flooded into the capital for the two-day event, with an estimated one in seven of them staying on to celebrate in Courtenay Place.

Costumes were everywhere.

Dorothy, Toto and the Tin Man shared a drink with the cowardly Lion at one table, while a few tables down a green-painted Wicked Witch partied with Batman.

Despite the rugby outcome, the atmosphere was jubilant, with people proudly parading their outfits and clustering around speakers and on balconies to dance.

Party 3Police presence was unobtrusive and the more than 10, 000-strong crowd seemed generally well behaved.

Duty officer Inspector Anaru George called the number of arrests over the course of the evening “quite conservative” considering the size of the event.

“It was a good-spirited Sevens as per usual,” he says.

The larger numbers joining in on the party were probably a result of crowds from Hataitai’s One Love music festival merging with Sevens fans.

Extra staff from the Hawkes Bay and Palmerson North assisted Wellington Police with 14 arrests and 35 evictions from Westpac Stadium during the matches on Saturday.

Party 2Most of the evening’s 63 arrests were for minor offences and infringement of the open alcohol ban in Courtenay Place.

There were some drunk driving arrests also, but no serious incidents were reported.

Speaking before the event, Wellington city councillor John Morrison said organisers work closely with police to ensure behaviour at the event is acceptable.

“While one might predict complete mayhem at an event like this, there’s always a very good atmosphere and little trouble,” he said.  “They come for the party.”

The IRB rugby sevens tournament brings an estimated $16 Million into Wellington over the course of the weekend.

Next year may be the last time the Sevens are held here.

The Dominion Post reports that Wellington organisers have failed to secure the city as a permanent venue for the event, with the NZ Rugby Union throwing it open for bids when the Wellington tenure expires next year.

Both Auckland and Dunedin are likely to bid to host the tournament in 2012.

So far as the rugby itself is concerned, it was not a great night for the home team.

The NZers were muscled out in the semi-final by Samoa (14-24), which was itself beaten by Fiji in the final, 19-14.

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is is a former Whitireia Journalism student.
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