Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

One Direction spurn Kiwi fans

Does One Direction's no-show here mean the band is losing momentum in New Zealand?
Does One Direction's no-show here mean the band is losing momentum in New Zealand?

Pop boy-band One Direction will skip New Zealand on their next tour, prompting some commentators to speculate the group's days are numbered here.

Diehard Kiwi fans expected a stadium concert in Auckland on top of the string of outdoor shows recently announced for Australia next summer. One Direction's New Zealand record company, however, said the band has no such plans.

"One Direction will not be touring New Zealand on the Australasian leg of the On the Road Again tour," Sony Music spokeswoman Taryn Kljakovic said.

"Fans who would like to attend the Australian shows in February next year will be able to purchase tickets to shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne."

Kiwi fans were among the first in the world to back the group and snapped up tens of thousands of tickets for New Zealand concerts last year and in 2012.

But music experts believe the bubble may have burst.

"Five years is a good life cycle for a boy band and One Direction have been around for a while now," Kiwi pop guru Paul Ellis said.

"Because they are not turning up in person, One Direction could lose a lot of momentum here and they will find it hard to come back from that."

Concert promoter Phil Sprey, boss of Wellington-based Capital C Concerts, said One Direction took several months to sell 20,000 tickets last year for Vector Arena concerts in Auckland.

"To take a punt on them selling 40,000 to 50,000 for a big outdoor venue like Eden Park is a big risk."

Mila Stephenson, owner of the One Direction NZ fan website, said Kiwi fans were gutted but insisted her pop heroes were not finished here.

"It is very disappointing but a lot of fans are travelling to Australia to see them. It will cost people more than $1000 each to do that but it will be worth it."

One Direction fans and their parents turned on the band this week when a video emerged of members sharing a cannabis joint during the Latin America leg of their stadium tour.

The footage of Zayn Malik, 21, smoking and joking about marijuana with Louis Tomlinson, 22, has led to several "Directioners" ripping up, burning or selling their tickets for upcoming gigs in the UK, Europe and America.

- Herald on Sunday

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