Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Country in sports and party mood

Auckland packed for Nines and Eminem.


Auckland hosted three high-profile events including the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines tournament, the Eminem concert and the Lantern Festival. Around a quarter of a million people are expected at the events over the weekend making it the biggest weekend in Auckland since the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Elsewhere, thousands of revellers turned out to enjoy Wellington's Homegrown music festival, the annual Mission Estate Concert in Hawkes Bay, the Classic Hits Winery tour at Villa Maria Winery and Splore Festival at an Auckland regional park.

A heavy police presence in the streets surrounding many of the venues meant revellers were largely well behaved.
Wellington Police Inspector John Spence said two people were arrested outside Homegrown for intoxication and a further 15 were given $250 instant fines for breaching the strict alcohol ban outside the venue, mainly around Waitangi Park.

One sour note was sounded in the Rapture concert at Western Springs, headlined by Eminem, when there were troubles with eftpos machines.

Lucy Fullarton of Telecom said said there were some congestion issues. People sending videos and pictures from events as well as posting online was impacting on networks. Auckland Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said there was very little need for police intervention at Eden Park. There were only a small number of arrests and a few people ejected from the stadium, she said.

Eden Park Neighbours Association spokesman Mark Donnelly said the police presence on streets bordering Eden Park made a noticeable difference to crowd behaviour.


He was aware of just one incident of boorish behaviour after two young girls were verbally abused by fans in costume as they headed towards the park. Those at the grounds were universal in their praise for the new sporting event.

"Primo, such a good atmosphere," said 28-year-old Brooke Dalziel, who travelled from Taupo for the tournament.

"It's all about the men in the short shorts," said 22-year-old Warriors fan Chanel Hendriks.


Nines organiser David Higgins declared the event a success just hours into competition.

"I haven't spoken to a single person yet whether they are a spectator, media, or from the NRL, who hasn't said this isn't a wonderful thing for Auckland," said Higgins.

Accommodation throughout the city was filled to capacity and restaurants and bars packed with visitors.

More than 100,000 people descended on the neighbouring Central Auckland suburbs of Kingsland for the Nines and Western Springs for Rapture.

- Herald on Sunday

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