Monday, 31 October 2011

Victory at last!

We won, we won! After a thrilling, nail biting final, in which we managed to hold off a determined French team to win 8 to 7,  it's all over and the whole of New Zealand is basking in the sweet satisfaction of once again being the world champions.  Rugby is our national game, some would say religion, so winning the world cup has raised morale in our country which has been battered by  major earthquakes, a serious mining disaster and the world wide recession during the last 12 months.  The world cup has been an opportunity for people to escape their worries, if only for a little while, and victory a cause for celebration.
A triumphant Richie McCaw, Captain of the All Blacks, with the World Cup

We wait to join the victory parade...yes, that's me with thumb up..

We volunteers were invited to join with the All Blacks in their victory parade and it was a thrilling experience to walk the length of Queen St, Auckland's main street, amidst joyous crowds elated at seeing the All Blacks.  We basked in their cheers and shouted thanks to us for our work and contribution to the success of the event.  It is estimated 250,000 people watched the parade and it was just wonderful to see everyone so happy and up lifted.  It is something I will never forget....a truly memorable occasion.

What an amazing and memorable experience...I'm on the left, camera in hand

The following night the wind up party for volunteers was held in Shed 10 on Queen's wharf, with over 1000 attending.  On a glorious balmy evening it was fun to mix with fellow volunteers, enjoy good food, drink and entertainment and say a sad farewell to people we have worked with and are unlikely to see again.

Relaxing with fellow volunteers at the wind up party

I have never been a fanatical rugby fan although I have always enjoyed major games played by the All Blacks. Being involved in this was, for me, never about the actual sport but more about being a huge fan of New Zealand and of Auckland,  having a passion for making the event successful, giving visitors to New Zealand the best possible experience and enjoying an amazing feel good festival. And I think it is fair to say that it has been an outstanding success.  It was a privilege to be a part of it and I have to say I loved every minute.

So now life abruptly returns to normal. It is back to catching up on things I have neglected over the last few weeks like tackling the weeds in my garden, catching up with friends  doing  a few needed odd jobs around home and looking forward to what the weather forecasters predict will be a long hot summer.  Bring it on!