Live match screenings confirmed for Wellington's Lions fan zone
Anticipation for the upcoming Lions tour is reaching fever pitch with fans from all corners of the world due to touch down in the capital next month.
Britons Peter and Yvonne Clarke will be among them, eager to recreate the memorable time they had during the last Lions tour to New Zealand, in 2005.
"We stayed in a hotel in Upper Hutt. The owner made us so welcome and we were fortunate to be the receiver of real Kiwi hospitality," said Peter Clarke.
"All our memories are good even to the point of the crazy weather we had. We are really looking forward to our return visit."
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The Clarkes, along with thousands of their fellow rugby supporters, will gather at Wellington's official Fan Zone at Odlins Plaza, near Frank Kitts Lagoon.
Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda) has secured the rights to broadcast the two Westpac Stadium fixtures at the fan zone.
"We want to ensure Wellington provides the best destination experience fans have whilst here for the tour," said Wreda general manager of major events, Warrick Dent.
"That means not only offering traditional warm Wellington hospitality but also adding in more unexpected and creative activities that will wow visitors and make it a great week for locals too."
Up to 20,000 Lions supporters are expected to visit Wellington for two full houses at Westpac Stadium - the Lions against the Hurricanes, on June 27, and in the second test against the All Blacks, on July 1.
After each match the fan zone will become a supervised party spot, with live music through till 1am and through Thursday to Saturday.
Dent said the downtown activities were all about bringing rugby fans together.
"A Lions Series is a special occasion – a hard-fought contest on the field, and a warm welcome across the country.
"We know from the 2005 tour how strong the camaraderie is between the Lions fans and their Kiwi counterparts, and we look forward to them coming together to eat, laugh, cheer and have fun."
Part of the festivities will be a spectacular Fan Trail on the nights of both games which will showcase Wellington's creativity and tech excellence through light shows and projections as it leads fans to the stadium. The theme of Matariki is integrated throughout the trail.