Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

From super heroes to sailing ships

Super heroes, from left, Sabina Giurgiu, Sian Camp and Adelie Tan rub shoulders with fellow fans at the Armageddon Expo. Photo / Greg Bowker
Super heroes, from left, Sabina Giurgiu, Sian Camp and Adelie Tan rub shoulders with fellow fans at the Armageddon Expo. Photo / Greg Bowker

Pop culture addicts, hardcore gamers and self-proclaimed geeks have been out in full force at this year's Armageddon Expo.

More than 40,000 people have already attended the expo, which started with a pre-event on Friday and finishes today.

Armageddon is one of several big events happening around Auckland over Labour Weekend.

The sunny weather brought huge crowds to the Auckland Tall Ships Festival, which also finishes today.

Motat had an early Halloween celebration yesterday, opening its gates between 7pm and midnight to welcome anyone brave enough to walk down its spooky Victorian Village, while the Waitakere Festival, in Henderson, attracted thousands celebrating the region's arts and theatre and diverse community.

Spokesman for Armageddon, Paul Blomfield, said there had been a record turnout on Saturday, with up to 25,000 tickets sold.

"That's how many people walked through the door on Saturday. All the roads [around the event] were pretty much shut down. It's been really busy and it's looking like we're heading to more than 50,000 people over the three days."

At the grounds yesterday, huge gaming sections had been laid out, with large screens showing real-time games. There were cheers and shouts as the loud sound effects made fight scenes all the more real.

Many fans dressed as their favourite video game characters, television or movie stars. Most went all-out with their costumes and all kinds - from gory-looking zombies, Disney heroes and princesses, ninjas, soldiers and Star Trek characters - were seen walking the aisles.

Sabina Giurgiu, 16, was dressed in a Supergirl outfit and happily walked arm-in-arm with friends Sian Camp, dressed as Cat Woman, and Adelie Tan as Wonder Woman.

Giurgiu said she was there for one reason. "I'm a geek. We're all really geeky and that's why we're here. I came to see all the TV stars and to talk to other people - geeks - like me!"

Four-year-old Ignacio Hitchcock, dressed as The Incredible Hulk, looked mean and green - save for the lollipop in his mouth.

Parents Mark and Georgina Hitchcock said they had spent the day looking around and meeting some of Ignacio's favourite movie characters.

Despite the success, one parent said she was horrified to find out that the expo included at least two stalls that sold knives to teenagers as young as 16.

The Auckland woman, who did not want to be named, has made a formal complaint to police after two of her 16-year-old son's friends purchased switch-blade knives from the show.

Mr Blomfield said police had checked stalls beforehand . He said the event was "very family-oriented" and safe; with no one under the age of 16 - who also require a photo ID - allowed to purchase a knife.

- NZ Herald

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