Support for Makos snowballs
Public discontent with the New Zealand Rugby Union's planned changes to the Air New Zealand Cup competition is growing by the day.
The Marlborough Express last week launched a petition to try to convince the NZRU to change their minds and leave the competition at 14 teams.
The petition has been circulated around many businesses in Blenheim and the response so far has been excellent, with a steady flow of completed forms coming into The Marlborough Express.
The Nelson Mail is also supporting our campaign and they too have had a good response.
A nationwide online petition run by Aucklander David Kirk-Jones, Save Our Teams, has so far collected nearly 5000 hits both online and on forms circulated at various matches around New Zealand.
An average of 200 new supporters are signing up each day. The address is saveourteams.co.nz.
The Tasman Makos' fight to stay in the top league has prompted one keen fan to encourage support online through Facebook.
Nick Gastrell, a stay-at-home dad from Nelson, started up a fan group on social networking site Facebook named "Save the Makos" last week.
The group now has 566 members.
"It's growing pretty fast. It obviously shows that there is a lot of support out there for the Makos with what the rugby union [New Zealand Rugby Union] is planning on doing.
"It's frustrating the Makos are going to be let down purely on financial reasons when they are sitting fourth on the table."
Mr Gastrell has lived in Nelson for seven years and is a keen rugby fan and supporter of his regional team. He had no problem with the union cutting the tournament to 10 teams, but said on-field performance should contribute to selection.
Together The Marlborough Express and The Nelson Mail hope to have several thousand people sign the Save the Makos petition.
Former Marlborough rugby great Ramon Sutherland this week urged Makos fans to pack out the park on Friday, October 23, for the Makos match against Wellington at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim.
Sutherland wants to see at least 10,000 there yelling their support for the well-performing team.
The Marlborough Express Save the Makos petition can be signed at the following outlets:
Marlborough Express reception, Night 'n Day dairy, Main St Fish and Chips, Mitchell Sports, Stirling Sports, Figaro's, Chequers Cafe Winebar, Harcourts Blenheim, Sutherland Arms, First National, Fairweathers on Scott, Paddy Barry's Irish Pub, Spokesman Avanti Cycles, The Fix, Woodbourne Tavern, Top Town Cinemas, United Video, Mortimers and Frasers Unichem Pharmacy.
The Marlborough Express