Many in the city are still on a high after the weekend's events, with the local hospitality sector, Rotorua Lakes Council and rugby supporters saying it's been fantastic.

The British and Irish Lions took home the win, 32-10, at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday evening, with fans filling Rotorua's bars and pubs after the game.

A Rotorua Lakes Council spokeswoman said, for such a large scale event, there were very few issues.

"We've had excellent feedback from the New Zealand Rugby Union. All gates were empty five minutes before kick-off, so all 28,177 attendees made it in time to see the start of the match."

Some residents said there was poor traffic management following the match but the council spokeswoman said traffic delays were to be expected.


"There was a lot of traffic with 18 free public buses taking people into the city from the game, plus charter buses and traffic delays are to be expected when you have such a big event. All parking areas were empty an hour after the game had finished."

Mayor Steve Chadwick said it had been a fantastic occasion.

"I'm immensely proud of Rotorua and the true spirit of manaakitanga [hospitality] I saw, with everyone coming together to enjoy the events and the game and give all our visitors a great experience."

Mrs Chadwick said Rotorua wanted to remain a relevant contender for these types of events in future.

"That's something we need to keep building on to remain front of mind with event owners and organisers."

Our Backyard Pub owner Richard Hazeldine said it was great and was definitely their biggest night of the year.

He said people had been well behaved.

At Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar, owner Kris Beehre said the night had been awesome.

"The only thing we ran out of was room."

Mr Beehre said he thought Rotorua did itself proud.

Herbie Philpot, duty manager at the Pig & Whistle, said it was a crazy night.

"It was absolutely crazy, though we were expecting it to be bigger."

Hennessy's Bar owner Reg Hennessy said they showed 18 games of rugby on their televisions on Saturday, sold just under 8000 pints of beer, more than 4000 bottles of beer and 198 bottles of wine.

"It's been a wonderful few days hosting the Lions supporters."

Regardless of the result, revellers were set to party the night away in Rotorua, with Lions supporters happy post-match.

At Hennessy's bar Laura Markham, from England, said the win was good.

"Finally [a win], I thought the Maori All Blacks were going to destroy us. It wasn't a good game but the result was good.".

Local Thomas Falconer said he was a "little bit gutted" by the Maori All Blacks loss.

"There was a lot of hype before the game. I expected a really good result ... I wasn't at the game but the haka was amazing, the Maori All Blacks gave it 110 per cent."

Both teams played with heart, Kurt Strachan from Te Kuiti said.

"If the Maori All Blacks had had more time together ... the Lions earned their win big time. Come the tests they will be no pushover."

Lions supporters were thrilled with their team's win over the Maori All Blacks. Photo/Stephen Parker
Lions supporters were thrilled with their team's win over the Maori All Blacks. Photo/Stephen Parker

At the game, with the majority in uncovered seating, the drizzle throughout could have dampened spirits - instead people creatively used whatever they could to stay dry from cheap ponchos to cardboard.

The crowd were quieter than what would be expected from 28,500 people, something Marlon Cosmas from Waihi Beach agreed with.

"It's a little bit quiet, it could be because of the weather."

Husband and wife, Vonda and Tony Kerewaro from Hamilton were supporting different teams.

"My son's friends are visiting from Wellington, and as some of them are British I thought I'd support the Lions tonight," Mrs Kerewaro said.

The Maori All Blacks haka was passionate, and it was clear to see the team were fired up for the game.

Steve Powrie from Auckland said he thought it was powerful.

"They're saying this is the fourth test. What's important for these guys [Maori All Blacks] is that it'll be probably the only test they play against a Lions side."

Before the haka and national anthem one minute of silence was taken for the victims of the recent fire at Grenfell Tower in London.

Some people had come to the game dressed up - in Scottish kilts, lions' masks or face paint - and Nicky Spraggon was wearing a daffodil headpiece. "I'm from Wales but I've been in New Zealand for 10 years. It's great to be here, and I love the Lions."

Martin Croft, Rotorua Lakes Council's major events co-ordinator, said the Fans Zone, held at the Energy Events Centre during the match, was awesome.

"When we opened at 6.30pm people were waiting to go in. There were lots of children and families there."

Earlier on Saturday afternoon, Rotorua's bars and restaurants were packed as locals and visitors geared up for the long-awaited match.

Kiwi and Lions fans film the City of Rotorua Highland Pipe Band outside Hennessy's Bar. Photo/Stephen Parker
Kiwi and Lions fans film the City of Rotorua Highland Pipe Band outside Hennessy's Bar. Photo/Stephen Parker

Inside Hennessy's Bar Noirin Kiely, 29, was drinking with friends.

"I'm Irish but I live in Auckland. The atmosphere here is really good, we've been to four matches and this has been the best so far."

The City of Rotorua Highland Pipe Band was greeted with cheers and singing as they arrived outside Hennessy's.

Mr Croft said the Matariki All Stars Parade on Friday night was "spectacular."

"It was amazing to see so many families with work that they had been created in the months leading up to the event. Having people come out of bars and restaurants to watch was a really cool feeling."

He said he wanted to thank Ally Rogers and her team for putting on the workshops.

- Additional reporting by Shauni James