With all accommodation booked out and only 5000 tickets remaining, giant flags to promote the British and Irish Lions' series will, from today, be hung in tourist spots in Whangarei.
Whangarei District Council received the first batch of 100 flags from the New Zealand Rugby Union on Friday while the other Super Rugby franchises playing the Lions will get theirs later.
The Lions kick-start their New Zealand tour on June 3 with a game against the Provincial Union XV at Toll Stadium.
Northland is the only provincial union to be awarded a game
Council's community events' coordinator, Jenny Calder, said the 1800mm by 900mm flags, designed to withstand adverse weather conditions, would be hung in places where they would be widely viewed.
They include locations opposite the Whangarei Falls, outside the Whangarei Airport, the Town Basin, Toll Stadium, i-Site Visitor Centre in Otaika, Tarewa Rd, Bank St, Hatea Dr, Okara Dr and at major intersections.
"The council asked for 250 flags but we have to realise other host cities will also receive them, so for a provincial game, it's a good allocation," she said.
"We're really excited to be the first city to have the flags and to put them up."
The flags will come down after the Lions' last match against the All Blacks at Eden Park on July 8.
Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai called on rugby fans to get behind the series by coming out in numbers at Toll Stadium.
"We need every seat filled and the stadium should be heaving with fans. The atmosphere will be electric. Don't miss out.
"It's totally appropriate for this match to be in Whangarei and it just goes to show you can attract world class games if you build world class facilities," she said.
Two temporary stands will be erected at Toll Stadium to cater for the 22,000 fans, including about 2000 Lions' supporters expected on game day.
As of Wednesday last week, only 5000 general admission tickets were available for sale and the Northland Rugby Union expected them to be sold within days.
Tickets for the Toll Stadium match went on sale on October 28 last year.