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Monday 24 October 2011 | Published in Regional


Rarotongas fan zone the popularly-titled Te Airangi Black Out was abuzz with rugby excitement on Saturday night.

Organisers are hailing the night a resounding success with punters showing up in numbers so large security eventually had to close the site.

Late-comers were left looking for an alternative venue for the game, but people who had been part of the action from the afternoon parked themselves in seats, on picnic blankets, cushions and whatever they could find for the All Blacks grand final win.

The evening started about 5.30pm, with crowd numbers building up throughout the evening.

Families made up the large part of the crowd and it was all about kids early on with lolly scrambles, face-painting, rugby drills, quizzes, fun food and games stirring them into a frenzy for the haka competition.

Teams from Rarotongas primary schools and one of an older bunch showed off their moves and war faces on stage, with maybe 200 kids on stage for the final mass haka.

From there, the night got serious as the fans hunkered down to watch the bruising All Blacks win over a tough French team.

The auditorium seemed like it would blow its roof off as the pressure mounted on the night, where New Zealand only just managed to end its 24-year Rugby World Cup drought.