Sevens: Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
It was cloudy, but it didn't rain until the meatballs showed up.
Wellingtonian Lulu Matthews and her five pasta-clad mates stopped to pose for photos outside Westpac Stadium when the skies let rip.
Thousands of soggy sevens fans streamed past, ready for the first day of Wellington's biggest costume party - oh, and the rugby tournament.
The pasta bowls were one of the more elaborate costumes on show yesterday, with each dish taking four hours to whip together with wool and fabric. "We just got bundles and bundles of it and went large," Matthews said.
"But we could sit down; we made it so we could go to the bathroom - clearly that's a big point - and we could manoeuvre ourselves dancing."
Last year, the friends went as bathtubs, which did not go the distance.
"We got ripped apart by the public."
Earlier in the day, a scantily clad Ginger Spice - who refused to give his real name - rollerbladed along the waterfront to the cheers of hundreds of punters hanging from the balcony of Foxglove bar. Like several other men, he had grabbed the opportunity to wear visibly skimpy underwear.
"The g-banger came with the costume," Ginger said. "People sort of cheer and when they see me from behind they're like: Oh, oh god, I can't unsee that."
Nearby, a group from Nelson in elaborate gowns and dinner suits fanned themselves in the heat. "We're melting," Diane McFarlane said.
All the way from Mt Maunganui, four "Glitter Blacks" shone in silver coats and lashings of body glitter. It was their 14th sevens in a row, head glitter black Jody Brokenshire said.
And what kept them coming back?
"Perving at all the boys."
At 2pm, the stadium was mostly empty but when New Zealand kicked off against Fiji an hour later, seats were starting to fill up. However, most people barely seemed to notice when the home team went down 12-7.
One of the few who did, Dennis Watling, sat alone in the rain a couple of aisles from a row of monks. He has travelled from Kaikohe for the past nine years for the tournament.
"I've got a coat," he said. "I come here for the rugby."
Later in the day, a young woman in a sailor outfit giggled as blood streamed out of a gaping wound in her knee. She left a blood trail as she was helped to paramedics.
By 9pm, 15 revellers were being treated at Wellington Hospital, most for injuries from fighting rather than drunkenness, hospital spokesman Matt Paterson said.
Wellington Free Ambulance spokesman Daniel Paul said it had taken 20 people to hospital from Westpac Stadium, most of them to be treated for intoxication.
Police said ten people had been arrested at the stadium, where a "high level of intoxication" was seen, and 160 people were ejected.
Police said they were "disappointed with the alcohol management" at the stadium, and hoped both the stadium management and the public would make "a big improvement" tonight.
"The wristband system appeared to break down and many people consumed and purchased liquor contrary to the agreed procedure," police said.
The Dominion Post