Superheroes fly out of town for super weekend

18:47, Jan 30 2013
AGEING WELL: Barry Illsley, left, as an old Captain America, and Steve Oliver as an ageing Catwoman - their outfits for the sevens in Wellington.

Manawatu criminals will be breathing a sigh of relief because, for this weekend, the region's superheroes are off to the Wellington Sevens.

The annual IRB tournament begins tomorrow and unusual, original outfits are the order of the day for the sell-out crowd at Westpac Stadium.

Steven Oliver and Barry Illsley are going to the sevens as retired superheroes this year, after wowing the crowd with their Lego men costumes last year.

Sevens Supermen
Super Sevens: Gregg and Susan Stewart with boys Corey, 9, and Tyler, 7, dressed up as superheroes.

Their costumes were good enough to win last year's overall and best group costume award, with the two of them and their five friends netting a cool $14,500 in prize money.

While most of the group "lived large" on their share of the winnings, Mr Oliver used the cash to fix his car.

A six-time sevens veteran, Mr Oliver said the superhero costumes cost just $100 and took "a lot less time" to make than the Lego men, which took six months' work to perfect.


Comfort and originality were the inspirations for this year's designs.

"We thought since last year's costumes were bloody tough to wear by the second day, we had better go in something that was a bit more casual."

The key to a good costume was to get longevity out of it, he said.

"On Friday morning everybody makes sure their costumes are perfect, but by the Saturday heaps are just ruined and ripped messes.

"We think we've got something this year that will be comfortable and last the distance."

When they travel down on Friday, more Manawatu crime-fighters will not be far behind them.

The Stewart family from Tokomaru are renaming themselves the "Super Family" and flying into the "family zone" which is being offered by sevens organisers for the first time this year.

Corey, 9, and Tyler, 7, love their rugby and go to every Manawatu Turbos game.

So when their mother Susan realised there would be a special zone for children and their parents, she made sure they got tickets straight away. The rugby was the main attraction for them, but they were looking forward to the atmosphere.

The two parents were hopeful the sound of screaming kids would not be their Kryptonite over the two days. "I hadn't really thought about that," said superhero dad Gregg.

"I'm not even sure if we are allowed to drink," said Susan.

Manawatu Standard