Costumes winner won't come back to sevens hell

MICHELLE DUFF
Last updated 10:13 09/02/2014
Jacqueline Roper as the Girl With Pearl Earring, Mel McGhie as the Mona Lisa and Stacey Roper as Goldie's portrait of Ina Te Papatahi.
Fairfax NZ

FAMOUS PAINTINGS: Jacqueline Roper as the Girl With Pearl Earring, Mel McGhie as the Mona Lisa and Stacey Roper as Goldie's portrait of Ina Te Papatahi at the Wellington Sevens.

Steve Skidmore spent four months creating his Miss Ruby Liscious costume but didn’t enjoy the crowd at the Wellington Sevens.
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
TOP COSTUME: Steve Skidmore spent four months creating his Miss Ruby Liscious costume but didn’t enjoy the crowd at the Wellington Sevens.
Wellington Sevens
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ Zoom
These fans got especially pixellated for the occasion.
New Zealand sevens
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Burst of flames fire off behind the victorious New Zealand sevens team in Wellington.
Sevens costumes day two
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ Zoom
The Kinder Surprises: Anna Zobel, left, Wiebke Liebich and Laura Benecke.

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Steve Skidmore won the prize for best Wellington Sevens costume but says he is never coming back.

The Auckland engineer walked away with $10,000 for his costume Miss Ruby Liscious, an oversized rendition of a glamorous woman which took four months to construct.

Skidmore has been coming to the sevens since 2007, but said this would be his last.

"This place is an absolute zoo, I'm not coming back," he said. "I mean, there are guys getting their dicks out ... the behaviour has changed. They have to have a good look at what's going on here."

This year is the first time the sevens hasn't sold out.

Inspector John Spence said there had been a "high level of intoxication", in the stadium on Friday night, with 10 arrests while 10 further arrests were made yesterday, two for assault and eight for disorder.

Over the two days of the tournament, 270 people were ejected from the stadium because of intoxication.

A further 37 people were arrested and processed in Wellington after the stadium closed last night, a police spokesman said.

Inspector John Spence said although Saturday was an improvement on Friday night - which saw 160 people ejected - police were still concerned at the levels of drunkenness at the games.

"Too many people were intoxicated at the stadium," he said.

"The Wellington Police Alcohol Harm Prevention Unit will be collating the evidence gained during the two days and will decide if further action is required."

Mr Spence said police would be discussing the issue with stadium management to see how intoxication levels could be reduced at future Sevens tournaments.

Also unimpressed with the day was top-level sevens coach Jacqueline Roper, who has been to tournaments for 20 years and was the field manager for the Los Angeles Sevens.

She came dressed as a famous painting, the Girl with the Pearl Earring, with friends Mel McGhie as the Mona Lisa and Stacey Roper as Goldie's portrait of Ina Te Papatahi.

It was the first time she had been in the crowd at the Wellington Sevens since 2000.

Although the vibe on the way to the tournament was great, the stadium itself was awful, she said.

"We were being harassed, there were lots of drunk kids that were just being stupid. I don't think honestly I'll come back and watch in the crowd.

"It was quite sad, actually. I'd say if you want to go to watch the sevens, go to another tournament."

But others were having a blast. Samoan supporter Phil Tanuvasa first brought his daughter Talitha, 15, to the sevens when she was nine months old.

"I'm an old dog, I love it. The atmosphere and the people are just amazing."

And it was the 15th year at the tournament for Geoff Wong, part of the Wellington Fox Crew who performed for an appreciative audience on the costume catwalk. "It's just the best party."

German au pairs Anna Zobel, 19, Wiebke Leiebich, 18, and Laura Benecke, 19, were dressed up as Kinder Surprises for their first Sevens, and loved seeing all the costumes. "All the guys say ‘What's the surprise inside,' and they all think they're the only ones, like they're so funny," Zobel said. "If they are nice, we give them a lolly."

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Wellington Free Ambulance spokesman Daniel Paul said the night was "pretty calm", but there were 47 people treated at the stadium, some for intoxication but most for cuts and scrapes as a result from slipping in the rain.

Paramedics and volunteers treated 47 people at the Courtenay Place triage centre between 10pm and 4am, with two sent to hospital.

With another 38 people treated at the stadium on Friday night, Mr Paul said it made for a relatively quiet year at the Sevens.

"It was very quiet compared to previous years, and we put that down to the increased alcohol regulations, they certainly have helped, we were quite comfortable."

- Sunday Star Times

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