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Friday 28 October 2011 | Published in Regional


Organisers for the Rarotonga Rugby World Cup fan zone estimate 1100 people watched Saturdays grand final at the National Auditorium, with many more turned away from the packed-out site.

New Zealand High Commissioner John Carter, one of the biggest driving forces behind the event, said organisers considered the night to be a runaway success, better than they had even hoped for.

What he had hoped for was to provide people with a night to remember and he thinks that the fan zone did exactly that.

There were hundreds of children there from the afternoon and they all enjoyed the pre-game activities, Carter said, referring to the many games, stalls, activities and events that took place inside the auditorium and around it.

After that, it seemed like parents took the opportunity to take their children home before the game kicked-off at 10pm, it was a different crowd.

It was the perfect environment for everyone to have a great night. I bet there were a significant amount of people around the island wishing they had taken part.

And it seemed to be that way. The event was so popular and the auditorium so full by the time the grand final began that people were being turned away.

Carter, a rabid All Blacks fan, said it was definitely a night he would remember.

And if my heart was good through that, it will be good for the next 24 years, he said.

Businesses and other organisations got behind the night with a huge amount of zeal and enthusiasm.

The ANZ Bank signed on right from the beginning, with many other businesses and the Cook Islands government backing the ad hoc event to bring the night together.