Homeless Hamiltonians are expecting to be trespassed when the Rugby World Cup starts - but the evicted men say they will still give a warm welcome to tourists.
The Herald spoke to a number of vagrants in the city, some of whom had recently been moved from their makeshift campsites near Seddon Park.
Among those was Cocoa Wilson, who had earned good money picking avocados in orchards before he moved back to Hamilton last year to live with his sister. The 43-year-old moved to the streets because he couldn't afford the $110 rent each week.
His home for the past year has been a mattress made of cardboard boxes in a makeshift tent which yesterday was set up at Hinemoa Park with pots, pans, containers for water, a gas cooker, a transistor radio and a table and two chairs.
He gets regular visits from one of his five children but usually keeps company with a Corgi he found on the street, whom he calls "Ow".
Hamilton City Council estimates about 15 homeless people live around the city but Cocoa thinks the figure is closer to 50.
Cocoa and a friend moved from their set-up at Seddon Park about 200 metres away about two weeks ago after nearby businesses complained of people defecating in the bushes and intimidation.
"It wasn't me, I use the public toilets and stay out of people's way. I also pick up all my rubbish and get rid of it properly," he said.
Cocoa is worried he will be moved on from his new home with the All Blacks match against Japan on September 16.
"The council said we could stay here for now though we were wondering if they were going to move us on because of that, they haven't told us anything but it wouldn't surprise me.
"A couple of fellas mentioned Rugby World Cup to us which is why I think they're cleaning everything up on the streets ... if tourists come by I will say hello."
Another vagrant, Daniel, who was enjoying a beer with a group of other homeless people before 11am yesterday, said: "The visitors can stop and have a beer with us - they just need to bring their own."
Hamilton City Council's general manager community, Lance Vervoort, said it had received 18 complaints over the past year from members of the public concerned about vagrants' drunkenness and littering.
But despite noticeable groups of homeless people that will likely be en-route between Waikato Stadium and the CBD during the tournament he said there was no special emphasis on the issue because of Rugby World Cup.
"Council can issue trespass orders against these people and report them to police if necessary, who'll then take whatever action they deem appropriate," he said.
The council's approach differs somewhat from Auckland City Council which is spending $15,000 to provide "support" to homeless during the Cup.
A security firm is helping with enforcing liquor bans, ensuring that tables and chairs are not obstructing footpaths and the monitoring of antisocial behaviour.
Peter Humphreys of the Hamilton Christian Nightshelter Trust, the only night shelter in town, believed the number of homeless was increasing. He said the centre was often turning people away because it had only 15 beds.
Mr Humphreys said homeless people could not afford backpacker lodges because of the bonds and advances required to stay long-term. "There is basically nowhere else they can turn to," he said.By James Ihaka Email James