After a slow start, the Christchurch fanzone started to fill up with excited All Blacks fans this evening (Friday).
The area in North Hagley Park, close to the devastated Christchurch CBD, opened at 9am this morning.
But supporters seemed to wait for sundown before making their way to the park for the festivities, where the opening ceremonies and game were being shown on big screens.
Local band The Swarn warmed up the early partygoers while the New Zealand Army Band got them cheering and clapping with their lively performance, which culminated in a rousing brass band rendition of the haka.
Despite the slow start, Christchurch City Council marketing manager Richard Stokes is upbeat.
"We feel a bit left out down here in Christchurch, but we're not going to let it get to us," he said.
"We've got a lot of fun things planned here. I just urge Cantabs to come on down and join in with the party."
Michael Cooke, a 36-year-old teacher at Lincoln University, hoped Christchurch would embrace RWC fever.
"It's sad we have no games here in Christchurch. I had tickets and was really looking forward to it. You see the rest of the country relaly embracing it and you get the feeling you're missing out.
"But you've got to get into the spirit of the World Cup. I've sent a mass text urging my mates to come down. It's a much a better atmosphere down here amongst the people than being stuck watching it in your house."
Ryan Rhodes, a 17-yaer-old student at Burnside High, was joined by nine schoolmates. They were well prepared with 90 cans of fizzy drink, mountains of chips, and sleeping bags.
"We got here nice and early at 3.30pm and it's just now starting to fill up. We're feeling the atmosphere big-time.
"I can't wait till we smash them - i think we'll stick 70 points on Tonga."
Two staunch Tongan fans, Lucy Kolo, 33, and Cecilia Mounga, 34, were ready for the party, with their faces painted in their national colours and carrying flags.
"Win or lose, we'll have a good time."