All Blacks V France & Te Papa Museum


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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington
June 20th 2009
Published: June 25th 2009
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The weather the morning of the match didn’t really give us much hope of it been a clear winter evening. It was wet and windy and you could feel the cold cutting through you. We started the day early and went into Wellington city centre for about 11am. Parking can be expensive and limited so I didn’t want to be driving around looking for a spot while the match was kicking off. The stadium isn’t that far from the centre anyway and we luckily found a car park 5 minutes from the ground. It was only NZ$10 (€5) for the whole weekend so we could use the ticket for the rest of the weekend as it was only Saturday morning.

We walked around Wellington for the morning and had a look in their shops. Although it is their capital city it is quite small. You could walk from one side to the other in 20 minutes easily. The city only has a population of 170,000 so its not that big and its nice to walk around. When we got back to Ted we went straight for the boot. We knew that this was a night for thermals and wet gear and that was all stored down below. Long johns, thermal vest, waterproof pants(good idea as a present dad!) and ski jackets plus all the llama wool gloves and hats we could buy in Peru. We were prepared for any weather condition. Gates opened 5:30 so we decided to leave from our camper van then. Nothing like been on time for a 7:30 kick off! We were there at 5:45 and as we were in an uncovered part of the stadium sitting outside in the rain wasn’t really a good idea. The rain would come and go so we eventually took our seats. The stadium was still practically empty but while we were out there we got to see a certain Mr. Dan Carter. Now before you think I’m on about one of the Carter twins that used to burn the ears of people with their cringy songs on the radio back around the same time Bewitched were tormenting us with theirs too, I’m actually on about probably one of the best known rugby players in the world. Dan Carter plays for the All Blacks but is injured at the moment. He plays in the same position as Ronan O’Gara for those who still don’t know him. He came down from the corporate boxes and posed with a French guy wearing a Perpignan Jersey(French rugby club that Carter signed with for six months and got injured in his second game or the season). I tried to get some photos of him but he kept moving. For those who do know him they’ll be able to make him out in the blurred photo!!

When the French team entered the pitch they were met with a chorus of boo’s. The New Zealanders haven’t really forgiven them for the world cup in 2007 and it even comes across as ‘how dare they try and beat us’. Matters were made worse by the fact France beating them again last week in the first test match. Northern hemisphere rugby is not respected in the south and they even said it on the radio that they expected the All blacks to put 40 or 50 points on any team coming down from the northern hemisphere. The match itself wasn’t great because of the rain with a lot of mistakes and not much running rugby. It was more important to the All Blacks to win than win in style. You could clearly hear the French supporters getting behind their team but some of the All Blacks supporters seemed hell bent on abusing their own.
There was a trophy at stake for some guy from NZ who died in world war 2 and is buried in France. The All Blacks needed to win by 6 or more points to retain the trophy. They only won by 4 points. Although the trophy probably meant nothing to both teams the rugby public made a big deal about it on the radio. It was even clear that the supporters never knew about the trophy until after the game. It seems that All Blacks supporters are never happy!

Next day we went back into Wellington to a museum called Te Papa. We had read that it was one of the best museums in the world and not only that, it was free. The museum was six stories high and you could easily spend a few days in there. It houses the only giant squid on display in the world. Each floor has a different theme. The first is all natural history about the different wildlife native to NZ and also extinct since European settlement. The second floor explains earth, water and fire, three elements which have shaped New Zealand’s landscape and will continue to do so as it is on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The third floor explains all the different cultures living in NZ and how the European immigrants arrived. When we went into one room there was a documentary on immigrants from Tralee around the time of the famine. It also has a huge display of Maori artifacts detailing their history in the country. The other floors contain modern art and sculptures but we had already spent 4 four or more hours in there so we weren’t to interested in that. The whole museum itself is very interactive and while there we saw many small movies about the country and countryside. We also went in a indoor visual rollercoaster where you sit into a chair and it throws you around while you go through the top ten NZ activities like bungy jumping and sliding down a steep hill on a piece of cardboard on a sunny summers day!

Our journey in the north island is over for now as we were crossing to the south island for 4 weeks before returning. The north island is incredibly beautiful but every one has told us that the south is even nicer. If that’s true we’re in for an amazing 4 weeks.

In a bit. DH

Song of the blog: Blur - Country House




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