Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry welcome the kick-off of the DHL NZ Lions Series 2017.
The New Zealand Lions Series 2017 will take place from 3 June to 8 July 2017, and will see the British & Irish Lions rugby team play ten matches against New Zealand in seven host cities, including three test matches.
The series starts tomorrow night when the Lions take on the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians at Whangarei’s Toll Stadium.
“The NZ Lions Series is an iconic rugby event which has significant local and international interest,” says Mr Bridges.
“The Government has committed $3 million from the Major Events Development Fund to support the series. This is going towards a range of leveraging opportunities including a school curriculum programme and Rugby 2017 Festival which will help host cities showcase New Zealand culture.”
“The last Lions Series in 2005 was hugely successful, attracting more than 20,000 international visitors staying more than 431,000 nights in total. The overall positive impact on GDP was estimated at $135 million.
“This is international competition at the highest level, and New Zealand Rugby has done an outstanding job in organising a series that will reinforce our capability to host major sporting events,” says Dr Coleman.
“With no tickets left on public sale for the Crusaders match or the three tests, and at least as many international visitors expected as in 2005, this year’s series will again be a remarkable economic boost for New Zealand.”
“The Rugby 2017 Festival includes a series of rugby club ‘Legends at the Local’ events across the host cities, Matariki programmes and arts events all designed to engage fans in the days around the matches,” says Ms Barry.
“It also includes the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Lands of Hope and Glory’ concert, a world record haka attempt before the Maori All Blacks game in Rotorua and a ‘Dunedin Sounds’ music event.
“To help further enhance the fan experience there will be a fan zone on Queens Wharf in Auckland to coincide with the test matches, with live match screenings, performances, exhibitions, food and beverage showcases. Some of the other host cities will also have their own fan zones.”
The Festival programme is available online at www.rugby2017festival.com