It’s taken a world cup rugby tournament to expose Kiwis’ feelings about foreigners to their country. If you’re thinking about travelling to New Zealand to watch the rugby, or are weighing up whether to emigrate there, you may want to look away now.
By Dave Tuplin on Mon, 19 Sep 2011 in Dunedin based Otago Daily Times:
“I have been to two England games for the Rugby World Cup and I have come to the conclusion that Otago residents or Kiwis in general hate the English.
Don’t get me wrong, I support the underdog, it is in the nature of us English, and British in general to admire and applaud tenacity, we like the underdog.
However at the most recent match, England versus Georgia, the sheer vittriol and hatred voiced by the spectator in seat AK143, section 306 (approx) was astonishing.
Ribbing supporters about the team’s performance is one thing, but to then essentially slag off the English supporters is quite another…” read more here
Ironic isn’t it that one of Helen Clarks selling points in her pitch to the International Rugby Board was Tana Umaga’s promise that “In an unsettled world, players, their fans, their families, would be safe and secure here.”
When the decision to award the 2011 rugby world cup was announced the British media questioned the IRB’s decision
“suggesting the board had missed a golden chance to expand the sport globally and calling for change after claims that delegates had fallen for New Zealand’s emotional “last-chance” appeal.
Sounds like the pitch was high on emotion but low on delivery. A bit like the opening night celebrations when public transport failed and thousands of spectators were crushed and intimidated by drunken revellers. The locals couldn’t even look after their own – the young women from the waka crew were abused and assaulted and Auckland City Hospital was so overloaded that it was sending patients to other hospitals and queues were forming outside.
Someone called “Carys” read the ODT article and wrote this in response, it seems to sum up the unease English people felt in New Zealand, some of whom won’t be coming back to the country because of the people.
“As an English fan, I came over to New Zealand because I love rugby and wanted to see the World Cup, and also to support my team. I have been living in the North Island for two and a-half months and have had a few comments about the fact that I am English, but nothing in comparison to the way I felt down in Dunedin for the first two games.
It definitely isn’t just the odd fan either. The entire attitude of the kiwis down in Dunedin towards the English has been negative from what I’ve seen so far. Only yesterday evening I saw a Kiwi bloke lash out at an English supporter who was just shouting his support of his team. The week before two Kiwi supporters (obviously donning the blue and white of the pumas) shouted insults and threw things at a small group of vocal England supporters until one of the lads turned around to confront them and was swiftly chucked out by the police.
Having seen the adverts all over the television about ‘love of the game’ and how well we treat our fellow fans, I have been most disappointed by the way English fans have been treated in Otago. In fact, after the game last night I was speaking to a couple of friends about their experience of NZ and both said that whilst the country is beautiful they doubted they’d come back purely because of the people.
I’m pretty sure part of the aim of this tournament was to show what a hospitable and welcoming nation New Zealand is. So far, I’ve been rather unconvinced.”
It’s not just the English that suffer from Kiwi hatred, the Australians also get a bashing. You probably recall the embarrassing “New Zealand minister for bad manners” who shouted obscenities and insults at players during Wallabies match, it looks like he set the tone for other Kiwis to follow.
Who can blame the Aussies is they too decide to stay away, this is what they’re saying about the experience of New Zealand:
“Australian fans say they were spat at and bombarded with vitriol at the weekend – as Rugby World Cup insecurities twisted the friendly transtasman rivalry into hostility.
“The biggest shame for me, my wife and a lot of Australian fans is the atmosphere seemed really great for all the other nations – Kiwis seemed embracing of everyone except someone wearing a gold jersey,” said Wallaby fan Phil Dunne, from Sydney.
Mr Dunne arrived in Auckland on Friday and left on Monday. He had never expected a soft ride from New Zealanders, but the hatred crossed a line, he said.
“Some of the charming exchanges involved sexual comments about my wife, instructions on how we could all f*** off back to Australia and even included one charming bloke attempting to spit on us.”
The experience was mirrored by many other Aussie fans he had spoken to on the night, Mr Dunne said…”
And now the French are experiencing Kiwi hostility for having the ‘cheek’ to not select their best players for the coming match against the All Blacks. At least the French aren’t pretending their star players were injured and unfit to play llike the AB’s did, there was so much disappointment at the Japan match among AB fans who paid big bucks for their tickets.
A week is a long time in sport and Kiwi memories can be ephemeral:
“The French rugby team have been accused of making a farce of their Rugby World Cup clash with the All Blacks on Saturday night by naming a side without many of their stars.
The Eden Park match – considered by many as the best of the pool play – was the first pool game to sell out, with 60,000 fans paying up to $460 for a ticket.
The fact that France has been responsible for the All Blacks’ early exit from two previous World Cups has fuelled interest in the match.
But French coach Marc Lievremont’s naming of a drastically altered side – including halfback Morgan Parra making his first start as an international first-five – has disappointed ticket-holders and prompted others to suggest a fix…” more here
No doubt the NZ supporters will make their feelings known in a big way when the French take to the pitch on Saturday, we predict it may start with the Kapa O Pango haka setting the tone for the conflict, sorry match.
DO you have any experiences of being a visiting supporter in New Zealand you’d like to tell us about? Leave a message here on the blog or tweet us.