Pokemon Go fans flock to Auckland Domain despite event's postponement

Hundreds of Pokemon Go fan-atics still turned up at Auckland Domain today despite a scheduled event for up to 5000 people being postponed over health and safety concerns.

Car parks around the Winter Gardens overflowed as players arrived in droves to hunt for their favourite computer creatures.

Music producer William Henderson, 24, from Mt Albert, became hooked on Pokemon Go last week. He spent three hours at the Domain today glued to his mobile phone and searching for Pokemons.

"It has been a successful day," he said. "I got two Zubats plus about thirty others. I love this."

Henderson's architect wife Sarah and two friends joined in with the hunt.

"William seems to be pretty passionate about this so I just thought, if I can't beat him I might as well join him," she said.

Honours degree student Sam Vella, 30, from central Auckland, joked the craze "has more or less taken over my life".

"I play for a few hours a day. I do it on the way to and from university, and during any breaks I get during the day. I'm also at it at the weekend."

"I'm going to have to cut back after this though and concentrate on my studies," he added.

Earlier today, Auckland Council brushed off claims the event had been canned because it didn't have a council permit.

"It's a misunderstanding," a council spokeswoman told the Herald.

"We informed the event organiser that the event could go ahead as they did not need permit.

"All the council made the organiser aware of was health and safety regulations she needed to be aware of."

Anyone could go to the Domain and play on their phones, she said.

"We're more than happy for people to go to the Domain and play Pokemon and we hope the weather clears for people to go."

On the event's Facebook page, the organiser wrote: "Due to the Auckland City Council [sic] being unable to provide an event permit fast enough for this event we are having to move the Auckland Pokemon Go walk to a further date as health and safety regulations cannot be met with the number of people listed as attending.

"You are still welcome to go to the Domain to play Pokemon Go with others, but it will not be under an official event.

"Updates will be posted on confirmation of the new date of the official event once things have been finalised with the council. Don't worry though, you've still got every day to go out and catch 'em all."

It is understood other similar events planned for today in almost every major town and city in New Zealand will go ahead as planned, including events in Hamilton, Christchurch and Wellington which are likely to attract more than a thousand players each.

New Zealand was among the first countries in the world to gain access to the game on July 6, and it has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity.

- NZ Herald

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