Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry have applauded the successful DHL New Zealand Lions Series after the final test last night at Eden Park.
“Last night’s dramatic stalemate capped off a hugely successful ten-match tour that has taken the British and Irish Lions the length of New Zealand and had a significant impact on our economy,” says Mr Bridges.
“The series has further reinforced New Zealand’s capability in hosting world-class major events. The Government has been proud to contribute $3 million through its Major Events Development Fund to help host cities deliver the Rugby 2017 Festival.
“Events like these showcase our country internationally. The series was expected to attract around 20,000 international visitors to New Zealand and the matches have been broadcast to an estimated audience of 200 million.”
“The series was full of spectacular moments and the excitement and entertainment, both on and off the field, has captivated the nation and tens of thousands of international visitors,” says Dr Coleman.
“Last night’s game was an epic thriller in the best traditions of the great Lions tours with the series ultimately ending in a draw. Both sides played some great rugby over the series and it will live long in the memories of New Zealanders.
“It was also fantastic to have over 20,000 British and Irish fans here in New Zealand. Their good humour and enthusiasm really made the tour.
“Everyone involved, from the tournament organisers and host cities to the various Government agencies who played a role, are to be commended for delivering such a high calibre, world class series.”
“The Rugby 2017 Festival provided a programme that included around 90 events and experiences across the seven host cities. This was a hugely successful opportunity to celebrate New Zealand’s rich culture and showcase our world-renowned Kiwi hospitality,” says Ms Barry.
“The festival events brought out pride in our host cities. I believe New Zealanders felt a real sense of manaakitanga – providing our own unique way of hosting international visitors.”
More detailed information about the numbers of attendees at festival events and the economic benefits the series has reaped will be available later in the year once analysis has been completed.