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Rugby World Cup 2011 Opening Night


Fri 9 Sep 2011, 4:00pm–2:00am

Where: Queens Wharf, 99 Quay St, CBD, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

A huge party with a stunning fireworks and light show, live performances and a mass haka will mark the start of the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Opening Night is a free, family-friendly event being held along Auckland’s waterfront spanning the Viaduct Harbour and Quay St to Queens Wharf.

A highlight of the evening will be the huge fireworks and light show, the biggest ever to be staged in this country.

The show will be set to an original piece of music composed especially for the evening by singer Don McGlashan.

The celebrations start at 4pm when a fleet of 20 waka arrive in the Viaduct basin with Dave Dobbyn marking their arrival. This will be followed by a mass haka by more than 600 kaihoe, or waka paddlers.

The Finn Brothers headline the music acts while Dane Rumble and others will perform throughout the night.

All the action and excitement of the opening ceremony and opening match between New Zealand and Tonga will be beamed live from Eden Park onto big screens lining the waterfront.

Opening Night promises to be an exciting and fun-filled event for all the family. It is also the chance to check out the biggest Fan Zone for the RWC 2011 - Queens Wharf, which is open every day of the tournament.

Event line-up:
4.00pm: Te Herenga Waka – fleet arrival.
4.40pm: Dave Dobbyn and band at Queens Wharf.
5.00pm: Kaihoe procession and mass haka.
5.55pm: Mayoral welcome followed by haka.
6.10pm: The Finn Brothers concert – headline act.
7.30pm: Opening Ceremony from Eden Park live on waterfront big screens.
8.00pm: Sound and Light Show - “All Lit Up”.
8.15pm: Opening Match between New Zealand and Tonga live from Eden Park on waterfront big screens.
10.15pm: Live performances by Dane Rumble, Midnight Youth, Kora and DJ Manuel Bundy.
2.00am: Queens Wharf closes.

Key points to consider ahead of Opening Night:

• Nobody attending the event will be able to see all of it live. Regardless of where you are you will see parts of the event live and the rest on the big screens.

• While the overall event site has room for approximately 50,000 people, Queens Wharf’s capacity is 12,000 so it is expected to fill up early. Gates open at 3pm.

• Patrons at the Eastern Viaduct will see the arrival of the 20 waka up close followed by a mass haka from 600 kaihoe. They will view the rest of the event on big screens.

• Those on Quay St will see the procession of 600 kaihoe to Queens Wharf with multiple big screens to bring them the rest of the event.

With heavy traffic and delays expected in and around the CBD, having a transport plan will also be important on the day and the following tips are designed to help people makes their own plans.

• If you are in the CBD on Friday, stay in town and be part of the fun or get out of the CBD by 3.30pm at the latest. Trying to get home from the CBD at peak time will be very difficult.

•There are plenty of carpark options in the CBD but if you are driving make a plan and be there early.

• Quay Street and the surrounding area will be closed so avoid driving near there, or make essential trips early.

• There are plenty of public transport options available for getting into the CBD and some services will be continuing until the early hours. Visit or call 0800 AUCKLAND for more info

• If you are in the CBD and going to the Opening Match, try the Fan Trail and walk to Eden Park and enjoy the entertainment along the way.

Restaurants to book near Rugby World Cup 2011 Opening Night